“The Testimony” is mentioned in connection with Moses receiving God’s law, his instructions to the children of Israel for worship, relationships and daily living. God wrote some things down on stone tablets and gave them to Moses, and Moses wrote some things down himself. Moses broke the first tablets and God had to re-write them. We’re familiar with that “Ten Commandments” story.
But what exactly was The Testimony? Interesting subject for study. Basically a testimony is someone’s account of something from their own personal, first-hand knowledge. A sworn statement of facts. The Testimony was God’s own sworn statement of facts, his own personal account from his own first-hand knowledge – of his own character.
Starting at Exodus chapter 19, there are dozens of “if” statements. If you do this, then I will do that, God said. And intermittently Moses went and told the people everything God had said up to that point. Every time, they agreed that they would abide by those “if’s.”
Moses wrote it all down, all the things God said and all the things the people agreed to. He was an educated man, literate, a detail-oriented historian. He was well equipped and well supplied to do this, and he did it. He may have been the only man in the thousands of them that could do it. These writings – The Testimony – went into the Ark of the Covenant.
But God knew they wouldn’t do any of those things. That’s why he planned Jesus from the beginning. And if they’d been honest with themselves and with Moses, they knew they wouldn’t do any of those things, too! Just look at their past, not to mention the lifestyle, culture and society they’d been living in.
I think what they didn’t know was God. His integrity, faithfulness to his word. His character. “What did God say? Well, he probably didn’t mean it.” They assumed this God of Moses would be just another run-of-the-mill god like those of the Egyptians. Whimsical or cruel? Real or imaginary? Who knows, but surely those rules Moses was handing out were like all other rules, meant to be broken. Right?