We are back again with another blog post for the reading plan of The Story. So God has just saved these people from a life-time of slavery and sadness, and…well, now what? Chapter 5 is the sequel to the story we all know well, and shows what happens next in the journey of God’s people out of Egypt.
Everyone can sympathise with the lull you get after something REALLY BIG and REALLY EXCITING happens in life. You’ve been planning for so long for something, whether it be a performance, a grand-final game, Easter camp, or even Christmas. The preparation takes up so much time and energy and it’s all you can think about, and finally the day comes…and then goes…and then you are left with that feeling of, “Oh, okay, well that’s done…”
I’d imagine that the massive group of Hebrews would have been feelings some of those emotions after they finally got out of slavery. They broke through and made it out into a land of freedom but, now what? They were a tad lost, and although they appreciated WHAT God had done from them, many of them still didn’t understand WHO God actually was, and WHY he had saved them. There were unanswered questions and God was keen to give them some direction in their wandering.
This leads to the creation of the 10 Commandments, a basis for our living even today. The Story summaries what this is really well, so here’s a quote:
“On the cloud-covered summit of Mount Sinai, God handed down the ten most-quoted, best-known rules humankind has ever heard – straightforward, no nonsense rules for how the Israelites were to relate to God (commands 1-4) and to each other (commands 5-10).”
So that’s what they were, a simple guidebook by which the Israelites, and us today, could live rich fulfilling lives that would glorify God in what we did. Easy, right?
Well the process in which Moses got these commandments took some time. And although these people had an abundance of time, something they lacked greatly was patience. So even though when they first heard these commands they were super excited that God had given them these, and spoken to them so clearly, the worship and celebration quickly ran out when Moses went back up the mountain to talk to God again, and to get the rules written down, and didn’t come back for a while.
They figured, Moses was gone, and because he was their direct connection to God, this means that God must be gone as well. They began to create their own Gods to worship, even under the instruction of Aaron, Moses’ sidekick. So when Moses finally comes down the mountain and see’s what has become of God’s people, he is furious. So furious, in fact, he DROPS the commandments that he had been writing down with God all this time, and they smash into a million pieces.
And rightfully so. If God was so good to them, and delivered them from pain and hardship through their lives, why weren’t they singing in the streets, and praising his name, and being thankful for the amount of time Moses was spending with God, because it meant they could have a connection with God Himself? Why did they so easily do what was familiar and easy by worshiping other god’s that they could see? Why, even after God so clearly showed that He was there for them, did they not believe in his ability to deliver them? (And do I dare ask, can you see yourself in any of that behaviour?)
So Moses simply said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” This group of believers who knew what was right were set apart by God. Moses told them to kill the people that were left (something hard to understand, but interesting to explore for yourself), and they set up camp together. God spend the next period of time with these people teaching them about how to live a life that is holy, and in response they were challenged and grown in faith.
Moses would regularly talk to God, and re-wrote the commandments he’d smashed. We always get told that as Christians we are set apart from the rest, and we stand-out in the crowd. Well Moses literally stood out. Every time he’d come out from speaking to God, it says his face was radiant. And, no I’m not talking Justin Beiber on the front of the ProActive advertisement radiant, but an indescribable glow of someone who has just sat in the presence of God. His friends were scared of him, that’s how much he stood out from the rest.
So there’s a few things I want you to think about over the next few days, and I encourage you to try and apply this to your own life at the moment, like everything in God’s word.
First of all, do you think your faith at the moment is anything like the people left down at camp? Do you feel like you are waiting for God to do all the work? Do you feel impatient, and as if it is simply easier and quicker to do your own thing in your own time? Do you worship other God’s – your phone, your TV, your friends, your sport, celebrities? And even in your faith, do you find yourself content simply in knowing that God loves you so much, or are you still waiting for him to somehow reveal himself in a fancy way for you?
And secondly, what is it about Moses that makes him set apart from the rest? Why was it him who got to go up to the mountain, and see God? Was he the strongest, or the most attractive, or the loudest worshiper, or the guy who invited 6 friends to youth every week?
Moses was set apart from the rest pretty simply because of the family he was born into, because God was working way before him, and way after him. But here’s the awesome thing, we are all born into that family too. And God has equipped us all with the tools to do incredible things with him, all we need to do is be willing and open to how he wants to work in our lives.
Lastly, have a think about the 10 commandments. Which ones are the most challenging to you at the moment?