In my sermon on Sunday, I briefly talked about how God revealed Himself more personally to Moses by sharing His name, YHWH (LORD in our texts). This name takes on a few meanings. One, “I AM” means that He simply exists. He always has and always will. He isn’t like the other gods who come and go, live and die. The other major translation of His name is, “I will be who I will be,” which means that the LORD will be everything He needs to be for the sake of the relationship with His creation, and more specifically, His people.
This week in our reading, the people reach Sinai, the mountain where Moses met God. After God’s flexing of His muscles in Egypt, He now asks the people if they want to be in a relationship with Him. He says, “Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
God gives stipulations for their relationship. This has bothered people in the past about God. If He loves His people, why would He force them into a certain kind of relationship? Should there be stipulations on relationships? How do wedding vows capture the kind of relationship God is creating with His people?
God has selected His people to model what relationship with Him is supposed to look like. What this relationship looks like can be boiled down to “Love God” (First four commandments) and “Love Others” (Last six commandments).
While Moses is away for 40 days and 40 nights on the mountain with God, the people grow impatient, believing themselves to be abandoned, they look to Aaron for a new leader. Everyone gathers their gold together and he fashions it into a calf. He then has a festival. Who is the festival for (go back and look)? They are worshipping the LORD but have condensed Him down to a calf.
Take a moment for some reflection: One of the problems with YHWH is that He isn’t manageable. We cannot manipulate the LORD and that simply isn’t convenient for us. Idols are convenient. You can take them out when you need to and put them away again. We are sometimes too quick to call on God as our Savior but fail to allow Him to be LORD of our lives. What are some areas of your life where you’re not letting the LORD be lord? We don’t intend to create idols but we often do without realizing it. What are some of the idols we have created and called it the LORD (i.e. religious practices, traditions, particular readings of scripture, understandings of God, etc.)? I want to always be careful not to become too comfortable with God for fear that I might create Him into a convenient idol.
The people quickly broke a good chunk of the 10 commandments. God reveals Himself to Moses in a way that the people hear God so that they will trust Moses’ leadership. Moses meets with God “face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” As God’s anger burns against the people, Moses meets with God on their behalf.
Does Moses change God’s mind? What does this tell you about relationship with God?
Moses was the kind of leader who took the people before God and interceded for them. Does your relationship with God continually lead you to meet with Him on behalf of other?
I’d love to hear some of your comments or questions on this chapter! Blessings to you as you grow in faith as a family this week!