in the presence of God

Exodus 32 chronicles the building of the golden calf made by Aaron when the Israelites began to miss Moses. Their leader seemed to have disappeared, and his second-in-command either did not know the law or did not have the spine to stand up to the people in their error. He made the idol, and according to verse 6, the people “sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”

Fast forward to chapter 33. The people have been rebuked for their sin, and many were executed. God has withdrawn His presence from the people because He does not want to destroy them. A tradition begins of Moses meeting with God in his tent outside the camp.

And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. (verses 8-10)

Here is an interesting contrast: in the presence of the idol, the people ate, drank, and rose to play. In the presence of Jehovah, the people rose to worship. The point? What is our demeanor when we assemble for worship, and what does that say about our understanding of what is taking place? If we feel no sense of awe at the presence of God, and therefore demonstrate a lack of reverence in the assembly, then perhaps there is some kind of idol inhibiting our communion with the Creator.

Lord, open our eyes in the assembly; remind us that You are in our midst during worship, for only then can we begin to show the reverence You demand.

#aaron, #book-of-exodus, #christianity, #god, #golden-calf, #idolatry, #israelites, #presence-of-god, #reverence, #worship

Worship and What We Like

Fleshly people in and out of the church use the wrong criterion for what we will do in worship. If they like it, that ought to be good enough. It occurred to me, that we have an interesting example to consider in light of this dilemma. When Moses went to Mount Sinai to receive the Law from God, the people of Israel grew restless and asked Aaron to make them a golden calf, so they could worship it (Exodus 32:1-6).

Let me ask you a question: Which do you think was “most fun” to the people? Praying/waiting on Moses or eating, getting drunk and lustily worshiping the golden calf? That is an easy answer. Yet, God soundly condemned them for their behavior and said, “They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them” (Exodus 32:8).

Clearly, what is most fun is not the criterion God uses. We must abide by what God commands in all things  (John 14:15, Colossians 3:17; 1 Corinthians 4:6, et al).

#biblical-authority, #golden-calf, #moses, #scripture, #worship

Lessons from the Golden Calf (Exo. 32)

1. Being with a crowd doesn’t make it right.
2. Weak leadership eventually leads to sin.
3. “Wonderful” worship experiences may not be right.
4. We should intercede for stiff-necked people whenever we can.
5. People soon forget God and His blessings.

#golden-calf, #sermon-seed