Sunday, February 14, 2016

God’s Anger Burned, He Wanted Solitude



Exodus 32:7-10: Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.  They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them, and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.”
In the previous segment, we left the people eating, drinking, and “getting up to play” the Bible says. All of which was fine except for the circumstances under which they were doing so – celebrating their worship to a god represented by a man-made calf fashioned with gold. God was watching from above where He and Moses had been meeting at the top of Mount Sinai. He had enough; He had to speak – as He always does, one way or another – when we have pushed His buttons beyond the allowable limits.
So God tells Moses to go down to the people “at once” because they are in great spiritual danger. We often think of God being outside of time and He is, but here is more evidence that He can get involved in our timeline – “Go down at once”. There is a time God is saying, through His words to Moses, for us to act immediately. When our fellow believers or our family is getting to the point where their spirituality or faith is in danger, we need to act “at once” – be it through fervent prayer on their behalf or be it through wise counsel and/or positive intervention.
You will remember back in Genesis that man was fashioned in the image of God. So when God here in speaking to Moses refers to the children of Israel, as “your people”, we can see in Him one of the characteristics He has endowed us with – legitimate or what we may call righteous anger. God was so angry with the children of Israel, that He in essence, for that moment, had disassociated Himself from them because of their idolatry. To the point I might add that He was willing to give Moses the credit for bringing them up from the land of Egypt. Poor Moses, this is not what he had bargained for.
The people had indeed as God points out, “corrupted themselves”. They had “quickly turned aside” from His commandments. There is no reference here to the “devil made them do it”. When we stray from God’s commandments, it is our choice, our decision, and there is no one else to be blamed for it. Just as our relationship with God is personal, so too our failure to keep that relationship whole is our doing, no one else’s.
And God doesn’t just stop at that observation. He goes on to call the Israelites an “obstinate people”. That’s a fascinating word and well worth looking up in any dictionary. Bottom line is that it means stubborn and unyielding even when presented with logical evidence and argument. How disappointing that must have been to God. How disappointing must it be to God when, thousands of years later, He gave His only begotten Son to die in their place and people today still are “an obstinate people” refusing to see His love for them.
We come now to a very difficult passage for some of us. God tells Moses that He wants to be left alone, but not to cool off. He wants to be alone in order to let His anger really set in (to boil) to the point that He would be able to destroy the very people He so dearly loved. What’s all that about?
We need to remember that these people were in covenant with God. And from God’s perspective, they broke the covenant. Sinning against God is not a uni-directional action. There will be a reaction. At a minimum we evoke God’s anger. And sometimes there are direct consequences of our sin, not because God wants to punish us, but because breaking His laws often have natural consequences. For example, if we steal, ultimately the authorities will lock us up. We cannot blame God for that.
Secondly, we need to ask ourselves whether or not God had any intention of breaking His covenant with the children of Israel? I believe He had every right to given that they had violated the terms of the agreement. But did He really want to? I do not think so and perhaps that is why God brings Moses back into the equation in a very roundabout way. He tells Moses that He would destroy the people and make a great nation out of Moses and his descendants. As a minimum, what we have here is a further testing of Moses’ true character. All he had to do to end up with a greater legacy than what he did end up with, was to say, “Okay, God, let’s do it.  I’m prepared to be your man in that decision which you are making in your anger.” But as we soon will see, Moses did not do that.
Thirdly, we need to remember that Moses was writing this account of Scripture and he only had human terms or language with which to describe the actual experience he had had with God. As such it is difficult for us to understand what was fully in the mind of God and in the intent of His words.
Finally, perhaps we can argue as some do that God was really inviting Moses to interfere, to save the people from God’s wrath. We do not know. But we do know this, if our God wanted to destroy the people of Israel, He could have. And if He had no intention to do so, He would not do so, no matter what Moses did or did not do. God had then and has now the right to do whatever He wants. And He also has the right to show His anger and His disappointment in whatever way He wants. I would not want to base my eternity on anyone with any less authority and power and dominion than what God has. Our God is not a golden calf.


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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

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