Tag Archives: Exodus 32

Patiently Waiting for God to Show Up

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Exodus 32:1

patienceI am a fairly patient person. I actually think it is a gift of mine. Nevertheless, I have no problem at all understanding the restlessness of the Hebrew people waiting for Moses to return from 40 days on Mt. Sinai. At a time in their new chapter when there were precious few “routines” upon which they could rely, one routine had become Moses’ “felt presence” among them. Another had become God’s visible presence through the pillar of smoke (by day) and fire (by night). And now, they had neither. All they had was Aaron, who was pretty clearly a far cry from Moses’ dynamic leadership. So, with Moses’ disappearance up the stormy, thunderous Mt. Sinai for an unscheduled, undisclosed amount of time, the hours turned to days and the days turned to weeks. They had no idea IF or WHEN he might ever return. I have no problem understanding the immense pressure these people began to place on Aaron’s not-so-broad shoulders. “Don’t just stand there…DO SOMETHING,” became the mantra of a restless, fearful people waiting for their God to show up and really set them free. As a church leader, you are probably familiar with that refrain.

In my experience, patiently waiting for God to show up can be the most difficult assignment we are given as God’s people. There is nothing easy about it at all. In a world and a culture where we are taught to take responsibility …

Loving God’s People (When Killing them Would be Easier)

Tuesday Re-mix –

So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold.  But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”  Exodus 32:31-32

Of the men who went to explore the land, only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh survived.  Numbers 14:38

Thinking today about the twelve spies in Numbers who explored and investigated the promised land and reported back to the people.  Ten of the spies brought a discouraging report and two (Joshua and Caleb) brought a faith-filled report.  The people went with the majority report and cowered from the task to which God had called them.  All of them were cursed and sent to wander in the wilderness another forty years.  Caleb and Joshua had to go with them.

I’m wondering if Joshua and Caleb had a regular Tuesday night support group for each other during those forty years of living under the consequences of everyone else’s mistakes. Can you even imagine the frustration…the pain of giving up forty of their best years to pay the price for other people’s sin? Can you imagine the temptation of gathering the entire assembly of Israel together on the annual anniversary of their collective cowardice and, together, Joshua and Caleb yelling out “We told you so!”  But as far as we know, they did no such thing.  As far as we know, Joshua and Caleb bit their tongues and continued to lead well throughout those forty years in the wilderness.  That is what leadership sometimes calls us to do in the church…to suffer the consequences of other people’s mistakes.

But not only is it a call to suffer consequences, it is a call …