The Old Testament provides us with powerful truths that we must understand and grasp. Today, there are some who believe that the Old Testament is outdated and Christianity can simply focus on the New Testament. However, Paul explains that we can learn a lot and avoid making serious mistakes by carefully studying the accounts found in the Old Testament.
Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. 1 Corinthians 10:6-7 (NKJV)
The account of the people of Israel desiring to have a “god” of their own is familiar to most Christians. When Moses was up on the mountain getting the law from God, the people got anxious when he didn’t return right away. Instead of waiting on the Lord, they decided to take matters in their own hands. The people pressured Aaron into making something that they could worship. Aaron took gold from the people and made a golden calf that they could worship.
I find it amazing how Aaron tried to avoid taking any responsibility in making this false idol. When Moses questioned him about what he had done, Aaron came up with one of the most unbelievable tales. He tried to say that this idol just appeared out of thin air.
So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ and I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.” Exodus 32:22-24 (NKJV)
Aaron simply took the gold that the people gave him and threw it into the fire and miraculously out popped a golden calf. Most of us are familiar with all of this but it is what took place after this that I want to focus on in this week’s post. God was angry with the people and He told Moses what he needed to do.
Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people. Exodus 33:3 (NKJV)God told Moses to go ahead and enter the Promised Land. However, I am not going to go with you because if I do, I might destroy the people because of their idolatry. It is at this point that Moses shows amazing wisdom. Listen to what Moses said to the Lord.
Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. Exodus 33:15 (NKJV)
Moses was actually saying to God that he would rather stay in the wilderness with God than be in the land of milk and honey without God. Wow! I wonder how many of us would have taken the stand that Moses took. How many of us would have looked at the options and maybe made a list of pros and cons and decided let’s get out of this forsaken place and head to the Promised Land?
I believe that just about everyone reading this blog has a vision for the future. Most of us have some goals we want to accomplish in the immediate and distant future. We want to be successful in both our lives and our ministries.
- Parents want their children to be successful and enjoy life.
- Teachers want their lessons to be effective and bring about transformation in the lives of their students.
- Administrators want to see their schools grow and accomplish more than what they are right now.
- Coaches want to experience success and may even win a state championship.
- Pastors want to see their churches grow and impact the community for Christ.
Would you and I rather stay right where we are, even if it is in the wilderness, if it meant that God’s presence would not be with us? Would you say to God,
- don’t have one more student enroll in your school
- don’t allow us to win one more game
- don’t give us one more donor and/or gift to help fund the ministry
- don’t let us grow in our ministry efforts to reach our community for Christ
- don’t bless our family in any way
if you do not go with us? This is difficult to try and comprehend but that is exactly what Moses said to God. Moses knew that God’s presence was the most meaningful thing that one can experience in life. Any other advances, victories and blessings that might come our way here on earth are completely meaningless if God is with us. As we prepare to turn to God with our whole heart on April 23rd, let’s have the conviction shown by Moses. God, don’t move us one step forward if You don’t go with us!