The children of Israel experienced God’s help while He brought them out of slavery in Egypt and brought them to himself in the wilderness. The wilderness is a place of solitude, a place without all comforts that we find at home, in the wilderness you are put in a position to rely upon God for survival. God opened the red sea for them to pass, He provided food and water for them on the journey, yet they kept on complaining. During their journey in the wilderness, instead of drawing closer to God in humble reliance they failed to realize God’s mercy and love on their deliverance. They thought that they deserve the best. Leading the children of Israel was not an easy task.
Lessons that we need to learn against ignoring God’s grace
- Impatience about God’s promises v/1-5 V/1 “now when the people saw that Moses was 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”.
God has done so much for the children of Israel, but their heart was far away from God. It is so amazing how people soon forget the hand that provided for them. There were so many things they have experienced in the wilderness. But they failed to wait for God. We always say; “God’s delay is not God’s denial”. How we handle God’s delays is a mark of our spiritual maturity. God’s delay should teach us perseverance. The problem with us as human is that, we suffer memory failure, especially coming to what God has done for us. This was a true reflection that all these years they never acknowledged who God is.They were so unthankful. They ignored the true God who delivered them and make their own god out of their golden ornaments and say, “this is the god that will go before us”. When we take matters into our own hands we always suffer negative results. Look example of Sarah by allowing Abraham to take Hagar for his wife(Genesis 16-21). This will give us an answer to the fights in the middle east. Have you ever seen when you are sick or having a diificult situation the kind of counsel that you receive that challenges you to bypass God’s promises? Psalm 1:1-6. Friends we need to learn the discipline of waiting.
- The episode of sin is described V/1 v/1(b) “come make us a 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”. The reality is, they know that Moses has ascended the mountain to be with the God of creation. This people wanted to worship an idol. It is dangerous to do ministry according to what people want or what they feel they need rather than humbly submitting to the authority of God’s Word. Paul dealt with the same error in Galatians; “are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit (Galatians 3:1-6). They wanted a god who will finish what God have begun.
The respond of Aaron v/2-4“Aaron responded with compromise and without questioning their sinful motives. People were generous to giving to the idols. Aaron was not a true leader. People worship the golden calf as the god that brought them out of slavery. The very same respond of Aaron was the same respond of Adam to Eve. Remember Titus 2:11 “for the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, v/12 teaching us to say NO to ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age”. It was not so with Aaron, he responded to the ungodly motive of the people. Looking at Aaron he was a man pleaser. He was characterized with compromise. Listen at Aaron’s proclamation v/5-6 V/5 Aaron made a proclamation and said, tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Referring to the idol that he made. v/6 “they rose early on the next day, offered burn offerings and brought peace offerings and the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play”. Why people compromise? Because they fear to be rejected. When you are tempted to compromise, you must be aware of the three dangers of compromise. -Compromise robs God of His glory. Remember that God is a jealous God; He cannot share His glory with any one. This is the message that we must proclaim. -Compromise hinders a Christian to be fruitful and effective. -Compromise hinders people to be saved. You cannot follow a person who lives a double standard life. Remember that small compromise leads to big compromise. Don’t make deals with the devil. We shall never do any good to people if we fear them. You can overcome compromise by the following; -Know the God of the Bible. The understanding of God comforts us in times of fearful situations. That is why memorizing scripture is so important. -Be a person of prayer. Prayer is telling God that your dependency is from Him. -Be bold to share your Christian testimony. I counseled a person who told me that I am afraid to share the gospel to my mother, she said every time I try, she respond with hash threatening words. It takes integrity and boldness to share the gospel. The fear of the Lord dispels all fears. –Spent time with people of bold characters. That is why it is important to read books that have biographies. There are lot of books on women and men of the Bible. There are wonderful books by John Macarthur he wrote on twelve ordinary men and the other one he wrote on twelve ordinary women.
- God sees everything v/9-10 –God was grieved that they give glory to the wrong god. God told them in advance not to worship other gods (Exodus 20:1). Can you make anything to represent God? Nothing. –God knew that they are stiff-necked (stubborn) people. -God plan to destroy them. We must know that God is loving and He is also full of anger (Exodus 20:5-6). What is your idol? Surrender it to Jesus Christ and you will be forgiven.
- Moses prayer for the people – v/11-16
Moses pleaded with the Lord on the behalf of people. I always say that “as the pastor I am every member’s prayer partner”. We must emulate the character of Moses in this regard. Being able to bring other people before the Lord in prayer. Our prayer should include other people beyond our regular circle. This should be our attitude to pray for those who are not saved. We must see every person being savable. Plead to God about your unsaved friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors and your employer. Looking at the life of Moses, he is known for being one of the most humble men of the Bible. He was also compassionate and a man of fervent prayer. If you are going to be used of God, you are going to give up your sinful behavior and began to identify yourself with Christian practices and convictions. We are going to humble ourselves so that God can get in touch with us and reveal himself to us like never before. We are too quick in making excuses as to why we can’t obey the Lord and do His will. God demand us to serve Him out of joy and willingness. Our life and our attitude should influence people to love God. We must develop heart like child, and destroy every compartment that we have created in our heart. I have observed three steps that leads to backsliding; -Failure to be accountable, -Ignoring God’s Word -Never thought that backsliding is possible.
- Moses anger to the people v/19-22 Moses was a godly leader, he knows how to be angry when things are not pleasing to the Lord.
- Wrong leadership v/23 Aaron proves to be a wrong leader, he responded by putting a blame to people.This is how many of us respond to our own situation. We blame others instead of accepting our own vulnerability to sin. Aaron failed to come clean before the Lord. What did he do in respond to the people’s request? He responded positively and gave them a way of doing the idol. The people were unrestrained and Aaron failed to restrain them v/25. People of Israel were not happy customers. They needed a leader who knows how to say NO and YES. “Everyone did what was right in their eyes” (Judges 17:6). We need to differentiate wrong and right. Peer pressure should not push us to do what is wrong. We need to follow God’s way not our own.
The reason we gather here as a church family, we want God’s word to teach us restrain.
- Moses brought up a challenge/ 26 The true leader comes to the picture, “Who is on the Lord’s side, come to me! all the sons of Levi gathered themselves to Moses”. The children of Israel were stiff-necked, even when they were given an opportunity to repent they refused to do so.
- The obedient remnants were saved v/28
Moses confesses the sin of the people to the Lord v/30-32, did not minimize their sin. They did a great sin (Exodus 20: 1).
- God’s justice in punishing sin V/33-35 Moses as a prayerful leader tried to plead with the Lord again for the third time because of their sins, but God show him that He exercises justice. This is the fulfillment of His promise in Exodus 20:6-7).
Never underestimate God’s grace in your life. All of our life is the evidence of God’s grace. Your family, your children, your work, your health, everything we do and have, is about God’s Grace, “God’s unmerited favor”. As we face every day of our life we need to be conscious (aware, mindful, sensible) of this message. “NEVER IGNORE GOD’S GRACE IN YOUR LIFE”. NEVER!
Hymn and prayer.