Moses’ stones have been on my mind lately. Not his (ahem) stones. Sheesh, what’s on your mind? I mean the stones. The Commandment stones.
Let’s pause for a moment and consider the size of Moses’ stones. Logically, they weren’t the tombstone-sized monstrosities that are frequently depicted in children’s story Bibles. Dude was old (eighty years old!) and he had to carry his stones (two of them!) all the way down Mount Sinai (which is almost 8,000 feet high). So no, I don’t think they looked like your Sunday School flannel-graph pictures. On the other hand, they did have to be big enough to hold all the words that make up the Ten Commandments. And again (no disrespect to Sunday School teachers of the past 2000 years), the abbreviated version that we memorized as kids wasn’t the whole enchilada. The wording in Deuteronomy 5 takes up 15 verses. I’m thinking when Moses got to the bottom of the mountain and found the Chosen People worshiping a cow sculpture, his smashing of the stones was a little more dramatic than Anne cracking her slate over Gilbert’s head.
Regardless of the size – somewhere between tombstones and tablets – Moses smashed his stones. This was kind of a big deal. God had written His most vital instructions with His very own finger right there on something physical and tangible for his beloved children to cherish and obey. And Moses pulverized them. Ground them to dust. Completely beyond repair.
I realize that his anger was totally justified. Those naughty, naughty Israelites deserved a colossal whooping. But part of me feels that if God had reacted the way I sometimes react to my own naughty, naughty children, there would have been some serious Moses smiting going on right then. If I project my reactions onto Him, I can clearly hear His booming voice: “Moses! Have you considered actually using the brain that God – I mean I – gave you in order that you might make an intelligent decision with your actions here? I mean, seriously. Could you not keep My hand-written gift intact for more than twelve seconds?”
I would be mad. Apparently I spend a lot of my time being mad. With justifiable cause, mind you. There’s a lot to be mad about sometimes. But still, that might not be the best use of my time.
Consider my friend’s new Vitamix. Do you know about the blessed gift from heaven that is a Vitamix? It’s almost on par with Moses’ stones. It is the ultimate blender/mixer/juicer/chopper/food processor. It costs approximately one kidney and one lung. I don’t have one, but a friend of mine had hers for all of a week when one of her children put a fork in it. It’s a pretty sweet machine, but it is not meant to puree a fork. Hoping for the best, but realistically expecting the worst, my friend called the warranty department and told them that her child just put a fork in her new Vitamix. Do you know what they said? “We’ll send you a new one.” Just like that.
That was a Mighty Stones of Moses moment.
When Moses smashed the stones, God said to him, “Bring me two more stones and I’ll carve the commandments again.” Okay, so there was a bit of a repercussion for Moses. He had to find and/or chisel new stones of similar proportions to the ones he smashed and carry them back up the whole stinking mountain. And then down again. But still – God didn’t freak out.
This is the lesson that I think I’m meant to learn from this story. God could’ve smote Moses. Or He could’ve at least made a much bigger deal out of the whole situation. Instead, He just let Moses try again.
I need to be more like that. There is a constant stream of things that I could happily smite people over. Maybe I need to choose to just let it go and let people try again.