Today’s Passage – Exodus 30 – 32
Scripture Memory – Isaiah 53
“And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” – (Exodus 32:11-14)
“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. … And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.” – (Exodus 32:19-20, 25-26)
“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” – (Exodus 32:31-32)
As I was reading chapter 32 this morning, I was reminded of just how great a leader Moses was; and I, unfortunately, was also reminded of the fact that there is a serious famine of strong leadership in our culture today. In our story, we learn that Moses was up on Mt. Sinai with the Lord receiving the Word of God. Moses was gone for a long time, and because the people thought that he possibly wasn’t ever coming back, they began to put the pressure on Aaron (Moses’ brother) to lead them in Moses’ absence. The problem was that Aaron was not the strong leader that Moses was, and he gave in to all of the whims and wishes of the people. The people literally “heaped to themselves” a leader that would give them what they wanted rather than what was right. So, in just a few short weeks after Moses left them to meet with God, we see the congregation of Israel abandoning all of the principles that they had learned from God through Moses, and they were now creating their own god – a golden calf. We have a lot of golden calves in our culture today as well, but that’s another message.
When God reveals to Moses what is going on with the people down in the valley, Moses immediately begins to intercede on behalf of the people. He begins to beg God not to destroy the people. It would have been very easy for Moses to irrationally desire that God get rid of the people and start over again; but Moses loved the people that God had entrusted to his care, and Moses did not want to see any harm come to them. However, when Moses finally gets down to the people, he literally throws a fit of righteous indignation; and he takes the hard steps that were necessary to root the evil out of the congregation. Ultimately, 3000 men were put to death. I am sure that Moses had some friends and maybe even family members among the group that were killed as a result of his order, but he did what he had to do in order to save the entire congregation. That is leadership. Leaders are not always popular, but they are willing to do what is right at the risk of offending some people.
Notice in vv 31 – 32, after Moses dealt with the people, that he is back with God interceding for the people he loved. He even goes as far as to tell God that if He wouldn’t forgive the people then God should blot Moses out of “thy book that thou hast written”. That is love, and that is leadership.
We need more of this type of strong leadership in our country today; we need it in our churches, and we need it in our families. Too many of the leaders today are politicians like Aaron that only want to score points with people. They don’t want to risk their popularity by standing on principle. God, give us some men and women that will be willing to make the hard decisions that need to be made in order to do what is right. Give us men that will fight evil and will stand on the principles of the Word of God. God, give us some strong leaders.
Posted in Thoughts from Exodus by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.