Wednesday, October 19, 2011
REFLECTIONS ON EXODUS 32 AND DEUTERONOMY 9 (Part 4)
As Moses is on Mt. Sinai in the presence of God, the Israelites recruited Aaron to make for them a golden calf to “go before” them. They then “offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” As God was aware of this behavior, He reported to Moses His perspective of the people. He first stated that, “…your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.” In Deuteronomy 9:12 God is recorded as saying, “…your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly.”
I would like to refer to two points of interest. The first point I will deal with in this entry and the next point in the upcoming entry. The first is that God does not refer to the people, as they engage in this behavior, as His people. They are “your people whom you brought up.” It is appropriate to take recognize how “sin in the camp” affects God and our relationship with Him, both, individually and corporately. Later, in the history of the nation of Israel, God speaks through the Prophet Isaiah to say, “…your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2, NASB) I have heard people attempt to justify the practice of sin in our current age by referring to this as “the age of grace.” Man has always, in some measure, to some degree, on some level, been recipients of God’s grace, but this is not to be understood as a justification for sin. Titus 2:11-15 reads, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
God is calling to Himself “a people for His own possession,” a people who deny ungodliness and worldly desire and who live sensibly, righteously and godly. To be His people, we must purpose and pursue a life reflective of the truth and purity of the principles of His kingdom. I am amazed at the number of people who assume that God must accept (in fact He’s pathetically longing for) whatever scrap we toss Him. We’ve turned the love of God into a weakness because we know neither God nor love.
“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” (1 Peter 4:17-19, NASB)