I had to use today to catch up on the reading plan, because of Day 16: officially the first day that I have missed. Yesterday, I started reading the first sentence of Exodus 29, another list of boring priestly things, and was like, “Nope. I’m not doing this. Not in the mood.” So, I just decided not to even read …
Turns out, I missed out on some good reading. Moses goes up a mountain to speak with God. After forty days, the Israelites sat there and said, “Oh, well. Looks like Moses went missing. Let’s do our own thing now.” They decided to build their own gods, claiming that it was the image of the golden calf that brought them from Egypt.
And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” (Exodus 32:7-8)
And it was all rather humorous to me as I read. God grew furious, and almost cut off all of Israel for their sin. Moses also got pissed. He broke the inscriptions of God in fury, ground the golden calf into powder, dumped the powder into water, and made the Israelites drink the gold-flake water. If that’s not hard core enough, that was only the beginning of their punishment. Afterward, three thousand people - brothers, fathers, sons, neighbors, and friends - were slaughtered for their sin against God.
I sat there thinking how stupid the Israelites were. I said to myself, “Had I witnessed God’s plagues upon Egypt and His miracles in the desert, seen the pillar of smoke morning after morning and the pillar of fire night after night, eaten food sent from heaven day by day, encountered the people whom God had blessed in abundance, and seen His terrible wrath against those who defied Him, I would already have begun mourning and fasting, trembling in utmost fear, and worshiping the one and only Creator and King!”
But then I realized that these people whom I would call complete dumbasses, He calls His treasure. I am once again seeing that I make the same exact mistake every day that the Israelites had made in but one day. I often don’t realize this until God graciously and kindly reminds me of this truth to me either through His Word or through brothers and sisters in Christ, like David “Tortuga.” (Let it be known: I really love that man. A LOT.) I really am no different than the Israelites: disobeying the first commandment by placing other things before the great and only God. It is so weird to see my sin described so simply in Exodus 32-33.
It’s a really stupid sin considering how miraculously God saves.