Chapter 31 was talking about the Sabbath and convicted me. I am not great at taking a Sabbath. I want to be. But what stuck out was the reason for it is "SO THAT" (dont ya just love 'so that's'. They make thigs so clear. Strength finders tells me one of my strengths is Focus... so maybe that is why I love 'so that's' so much- they bring it back to the real purpose) everyone will know that He is the Lord and He is the one that sanctifies us. I get that. When you are caught up in being a workaholic, then it is easy to think you are the one bringing about change. (In heart and circumsance.)
Chapter 32 Threw me for another loop. (I guess at this stage in Exo. I am kinda getting use to saying HUH?!) Well, this is when Moses is chatting with the Lord and Aaron makes a gold calf and the people start worshipping it. Ok, seriously... I totally dont understand why in the world Aaron does this. Not that I am without sin... but I just dont get it. The commentary says he made a calf because the Eyptians worshipped Baal (who was in the form of a bull). HUH? Why would he want to make a cow in the image of the people who oppressed them? Perhaps it was because he wanted to do or be something great? Wanted to impress people? I dont know... because how would a cow impress people??
Anyway, what stuck out was that the people started off believing a litte lie, which distracted them. (Now this I totally understand!!) They said "we dont know what happened to him." It had been 40 days and there were ansie. (I imagine a bit like how I get spring fever) They wanted to move on, not to revel in what the Lord was doing. So they asked Aaron-who they wanted to follow instead of God's appointed leader- to make gods. I dont get this either. Why did they need a god for them to go? But perhaps they wanted the benefits the Lord providees like protection, security and direction.
But basically this tiny lie grew and grew. Perhaps they started thinking about what could have happened to Moses up there on the mountain. Maybe they dreamed up all sorts of things and then began to believe and act as though they were true.
I get this. I am a very curious person with a wild imagination. For real. For example one thing in heaven I am looking forward to is helping God design some animals. (He alone can give life though-I know that) But seriously that would be so super fun... the first one would be a little fluffy round guy that bounces/floats.
Ok, so I know what it is like to have my mind run away with me. And then be consumed by crazy thoughts that have no basis in reality and let them distract me from what God has called me to. I have faced this the past couple weeks. This reminds me of James 1 that talks about how each one is enticed and dragged away to sin. And sin brings death. Enticement is not sin... but leads to it. That is why 2 Cor. 10- is so super important when it talks about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ!! Oh Lord help me! And the crazy thing is that I cant!! John 15:5 says we can do nothing apart from Christ. But I know God can... so when my mind is running away with me with thoughts that only distract I can call out to Him to be my strength to enable me to discipline my mind and say no to crazy thoughts. And if not, remaining in enticement leads to sin, which will for sure lead to death.
So, there is this uncontrolled mind stuff that God is clearly speaking to me about. So grateful! But so aware of my need for Him... which I am also grateful for (even though there is a temptation for shame) because Matt. 5 says that those who are broken over thier sin will see the kingdom of God and be comforted.
But then there is also Exo 32: 11 on. From my last few posts, I am sure it is obvious that I greatly desire justice. I do. I really really do. But that does not mean I am without compassion. I have prayed for some people to come to know Christ for 20 years. (Wow, just realized what a long time that is.) I cry when I see and know people are in horrible situations. And that is what spurs my desire for justice. That is not how God created things. Sin brings death and I hate it. The girls in the sex trade... Oh that breaks my heart and enrages me. And then it makes me cry out, I believe like David... Oh God come destroy the enemies. But this attitude is so not what I experience in my US culture. I hear tolerate, love no matter what, if God is so loving, why..., I hardly ever hear about God's justice and His holiness. I dont hear much talk about what we truly deserve. Lot of mercy and lots of grace. Which are so good- reflect God's heart... but that is not all God is. I just think there is a very lop-sided view of God. And without seeing His Holiness, how can we fully appreciate His mercy and grace?
God wants to destroy the people because of the calf incedent. Wow. That is how God sees sin. Moses does not understand what's going on- so he pleads for God to relent. So He does... for then. He will punish, just not at that exact moment . Then Moses comes down the mountain after being in God's presence and saw that the people were worshipping an idol. He was angry... and said hey, everyone who is for the Lord, come here. And tells them to go kill everyone else. Woah!!! So they did, 3,000 people were killed that day. These people killed thier own friends and family because of the seriousness of sin. Crazy how Moses ended up doing the very thing that God desired after he saw/experienced the sin himself. Then of the people remaining, God began redemption and restoration. This is also God's glory- his character- His passion for justice and holiness. But it not sung about and delighted in. Why?
I still dont totally understand how this passion as well as His passion to reveal His grace and mercy fit together... but I know they both exist.
If I were Moses, I wouldnt have been able to do it. To tell people to go kill thier friends. Yup, no way. But I think that show my littleness of understanding God's holiness.