Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Read: Exodus 31-32
Things just got really ugly. The Lord was speaking to Moses and was downloading very detailed instructions to his favorite Old Testament Revolutionary. He gave Moses two stone tablets (31:18) and provided a short list of rules to follow. While God was doing this the Israelites got restless. And in doing so they exposed a weak faith and sinned.
Look at 32:1 it says: “When Moses failed to come back down the mountain right away, the people went to Aaron.” The part that is really convicting to me is the “right away” part. These people depended on Moses so much that when he wasn’t immediately instructing them, challenging them or leading them they didn’t know what to do with themselves. They followed Moses, not God.
Their impatience gives birth to disaster and they start blaming Moses for abandoning them. Then Aaron makes a huge mistake. He instructs the people to make an idol, something they can see; a god that will always be with them. Something tangible to lead them. Aaron doesn’t usually act like such a loser (see 32:24!) and he pays for his weakness.
When Moses comes down from the mountain he saw the rebellion that the Lord alerted him to in verses 7-8. Moses reacted in “terrible anger” (v.19) and destroyed the tablets that the Lord wrote with His own hand. So because Moses was frustrated with the Israelites he destroyed the Lord’s work. Do you think Moses sinned in doing this?
He definitely could have responded better and in 32:20 Moses starts to think more clearly and comes up with an awesome punishment; he literally makes the people drink their god. The god they created to be with them forever disappeared down their throats (and probably sat poorly at the bottom of their bladders). Classic.
God is only beginning to punish the Israelites. And it only gets more hardcore from here. Reread 32:25-35. Moses called those who would defend the Lord (the Levites) to kill those who had rebelled in their idolatry. Three thousand people were slain (v.28). And then just to be sure that everyone got the point, God sends a plague (v.35). Do you think this punishment is just? What does this reveal about the nature of God?
How do you react in the times when you feel that God has disappeared? Think of times in your life where you have been on a ‘lonely road’ how was your relationship with God? What do you do when your leaders are not leading you? How many times have you destroyed the work of the Lord because you were frustrated by the reaction of others? God is sovereign and has the right to do what he wishes. What does this mean to you?