DAILY DEVOTIONS: "Moses" -Mike MacIntosh


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Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for 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


Patience is not something that comes naturally for any of us. Wouldn't you agree? We want to eat right away, so we hop in the car and pick up fast food. We want to listen to a song, so we download the MP3. We buy and sell stocks instantly, with the click of a button. In a world of instant satisfaction, it's no wonder we lack patience -- especially with God.

The Israelites found themselves growing impatient. Here they were, camped beside Mount Sinai, waiting for Moses to return from the mountaintop, where he was talking with God. But what was taking Moses so long? Did he die? Nearly 40 days had passed since anyone had seen or heard from him, and the people were starting to get antsy. 

They complained to Aaron, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for 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." But the Israelites were making a huge mistake.

First, the people assumed that because Moses had not yet returned, he would never return. And this is the mistake of many who reason that because Jesus has not yet returned for His church, He never will.

It is the same mistake we make when we think that the Lord cannot change someone's heart, simply because that person has yet to change, or that God will not answer a prayer, simply because He has not answered it yet. But it is always a mistake to assume that present circumstances will never change simply because they have yet to change.

Next, notice that the people see Moses as their liberator -- they call him "the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt." But Moses had not led them out of the land of Egypt -- God had. Moses had never even claimed to be their leader. In fact, while speaking with God on the mountaintop, Moses humbly tells God, "You have brought [them] out of the land of Egypt" (Exodus 32:11). 

The people, though, did not acknowledge God; they effectively made Moses their god. They didn't rely on the commands of God, but on the presence of a man. How, then, could they understand God's will in the man's absence? When we fail to see God's leading -- when we blame the people around us for problems and delays, the way the Israelites blamed Moses in his absence -- we grow impatient. We try to take charge. And that led to the Israelites' biggest mistake.

The people were tired of waiting, and they wanted to take action -- they wanted to replace Moses. Not with another man, or even with a number of men, but with gods. False gods, plural. And Aaron didn't say one word to counter them; he facilitated the creation of a golden calf, of which the people proclaimed, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!" (Exodus 32:4). First it was Moses who delivered them, now a golden calf? Would the people never acknowledge God?

You know, we can read this story and understand the foolishness of the Israelites to grow so impatient and act so impulsively. But are we guilty of the same mistakes? I'm sure the Israelites must have been proud of their teamwork in coming together to create a golden calf. I'm sure it took much skill to create.

 And I'm sure they found the golden calf impressive. But did that make it worthy of the credit that only God deserved? Do we grow impatient with God, and build idols in our lives that rob Him of the glory He deserves?

Today, let me encourage you to wait on the Lord. Maybe you need His wisdom on an important decision, or His provision for the coming days, weeks, and months. Maybe, like the Israelites, you're wandering in the wilderness, waiting for God to point you to the promised land. 

Trust that He is in charge. Know that He can bring change to your life, and hope to your soul. And always acknowledge Him in everything you do. Proverbs 3:5-6 says it best: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."

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