Deuteronomy 10:1-2, 10 At that time the LORD said to me, “Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones and come up to me on the mountain. Also make a wooden chest. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Then you are to put them in the chest.” … … Now I had stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time, and the LORD listened to me at this time also. It was not his will to destroy you.
How it must have hurt Moses to write this chapter of Deuteronomy, recounting the events of the forty years in the wilderness as they prepared to enter the Promised Land – calling to mind their rebellion and disobedience that led to the destruction of the original stone tablets, and realising that the people he was addressing were infected with the same rebellious, ‘Adamic’ hearts that their forefathers had!
The ‘wooden chest’ he made would be kept in the ‘Holy Place’ of the Tabernacle, would be guarded by two cherubim (Exodus 37), and would symbolise a holy God’s very presence among his covenant (rebellious-hearted) people! But even as Moses reflected on the inevitable sad future where all this was heading, he would have also reflected on two other very important things.
Firstly, he KNEW that ‘the LORD listened to [him]’ as he pleaded on behalf of the sinful people, and that ‘it was NOT [the faithful covenant LORD’s] will to DESTROY [them]’.
Secondly, he KNEW that the ‘wooden chest’, containing the ‘LAW’ that would continually condemn the sinful people, also had a ‘cover’ on it, above the stone tablets and between the cherubim, a ‘cover’ that would be called a ‘MERCY SEAT”. However, what Moses DIDN’T know in detail, but only saw FORESHADOWED, was that the ‘mercy seat’ was pointing to a Crucified Saviour whose DEATH would be the ‘covering’ (‘propitiation’) for their sins!
The Apostle Paul explains it like this: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was POWERLESS to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, GOD DID by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4), and “it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith – and this NOT from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God (Ephesians 2:8).