Blog by Kristen Hicks
I keep thinking about this story. It’s the story of Exodus 32-33.
Moses is up on Mount Sinai, getting the two stone tablets, the covenant, written by the finger of God. The Israelites are getting really anxious and restless. So they turn to a leader, Aaron, and they ask him to make them some gods that can lead them. I guess that means we can gather exactly where their anxiety was coming from— they were feeling directionless. They had no idea where to go or what to do, and they weren’t willing to wait any longer.
Aaron, being the people pleaser that he was, decides to give them what they want. He tells them to bring all their gold earrings to him. He melts the gold and turns it into a gold calf. Aaron saw how excited it made the people so he kept going with this idea. He built an altar in front of it and then had a festival in order to honor it.
Ok, pause. What the crap!?!? How in the world did the Israelites get to this point? After all they had seen, after all they had experienced, after all the things God had done for them— the way He provided and protected them, and not only did He do such things but He did them in only ways that ALMIGHTY God, Creator of ALL things, could do things. And with one moment, or let’s even give them a couple of days, a small season of uncertainty, they are willing to throw in the towel, call it quits and try something else. They were willing to create for themselves a god. A god they could see, a god they could touch, a god that would do things their way, in their timing. To the point that it says that once they saw this thing created, they exclaimed, “O, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
What?!?! No, no, no, no, NO!
So, the Lord sees and hears this (duh), and He tells Moses that he needs to get back down there. He tells Moses that He is going to destroy them. He even tells Moses, “Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”
I love this next part. I love that Moses, knew God’s heart so well that He could remind Him of His own heart, of His original intention in the midst of God’s heart breaking with pain and anger over what His very own people that He loved were doing to Him. God was hurt there was no doubt about that.
So Moses, goes back down the mountain, sees the people celebrating, dancing around a gold calf, and he burns with anger, and smashes the tablets. It says that “he took the calf they had made and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water and forced the people to drink it.”
Then he let Aaron have it, of course. Finally, it says “he stood at the entrance of the camp and shouted, ‘All of you who are on the Lord’s side, come here and join me.’ And all the Levites gathered around him. Moses told them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says ‘Each of you take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone— even your brothers, friends and neighbors.’’” And so they did.
Moses, went before the Lord and begged for forgiveness. The Lord told him He would send an angel to lead them to the Promised Land. But He could not go with them, because if He did, He would surly kill them.
But Moses had a certain relationship with God. It says that “the Lord would speak to Him face to face, as one would speak to a friend.” So even though the Lord kept telling Moses to leave without Him, Moses wouldn’t, and finally one day he told God why.
It all boiled down to the fact that Moses didn’t want to go anywhere without God. He valued God’s Presence more than he valued God’s Promise. It didn’t matter to Moses if he had the blessing of God, the protection of God, the provision of God, no, he knew that the one thing that mattered most, was the PRESENCE OF GOD.
Because of THIS motive, because of THIS mindset, because of THIS heart, I think THIS is why God showed Moses His Glory.
I have felt very much like I’m standing in the middle of the same crossroads, the Israelites were in at the beginning of this story. I have asked the Lord in several ways, if I’m supposed to just keep waiting for Him or just pick something and go after it. Because, honestly, waiting on Him seems to keep putting me in these really, really tight places— physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually, in every way actually. Promises are burning within me. Promises of dreams, of freedom, of a life that looks nothing like the one I’m living right now. And I keep wanting to get there just as quick and painless as I can. But so far, it doesn’t matter how much I try, all the pieces aren’t fitting together. Because the thing is, deep down I know, I know there is a test here. And I already know I want to pass it.
I’ve really struggled with this in the last week or so. I had this moment last week that I regretted something that I never, ever want to regret. It was a moment in high school when I said, “Yes” to Jesus. I said, “yes” to all that He had for me. I said “yes” to my life not being the same as everyone else around me, to not falling into the endless circles of building life in a culture that can never seem to have enough or be big enough. I said, “yes” to adventures, to living, to surrendering my plans, my ways, and my life completely to God, and last week was the first time I ever regretted it. Why? Because I’m tired. Because it’s hard. It’s hard feeling smack dab in the middle of nowhere. It’s hard feeling like everyone is looking at you, like you’re in this season of life that you should at least have more figured out than it looks like you do. It’s hard when you look in the mirror and think the exact same thing.
But then I remember. I remember all the times, the Lord has seen me through. I remember all the times, He literally rescued me. All the times He barged into my life, even when I didn’t want Him too. I remember every single time, He came when I needed Him to come. Every tear, that I cried before Him, every time I struggled, every time He carried me when I didn’t think I could keep walking. I remember all the times that He offered His hand, how many times He provided. I remember how often that I feel, insecure, unseen or alone and that He comes and His Presence completely envelopes me.
Today, I asked Him, why He sticks around even when I try to do things on my own. Why He doesn’t just banish me when I start doubting Him and His goodness and His answer literally shocked me today. He said,
“Because you’re not the only one who said yes. I said yes to you.”
I don’t regret my “yes” anymore. Because that “yes” has given me the greatest opportunity, a person could ever “dream” about. It’s given me the opportunity to KNOW His Presence. And I agree with Moses on this one. His Presence is much greater than His Promise. In fact, I think that is the whole thing. I think the truest Promise is actually His Presence.
So I will wait. I ain’t moving. Not unless, the Lord says ok, now let’s go. Because I am convinced, so FREAKING convinced that there is NOTHING— no dream, no plan, no promise, no status quo, no position, no person— that is better than His Presence. I will keep waiting, keep praising, keep seeking, keep pursuing, keep worshiping His Heart. Why? Because He has my yes! And He is most certainly worthy of it.
“Sometimes, my very best, is only my weakest yes.”