Distracted From God’s Presence, Pt. 2

Exodus 32:7-14 says, “7And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 9And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 10Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. 11And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.”

Thirdly, we must refuse to allow idols to distract us from God’s presence. That is easy to do when one tries to ride on the coattail of Moses’ anointing, hoping that they will give them access to God and be the one who gets them a prayer through to heaven. It can only be avoided when we establish a relationship between us and God ourselves. The fact of the matter is that children of Israel had been in Egyptian bondage for so long that even though that they escaped the bondage and were made free, Egypt never really got out of them. You can get out of Egypt without Egypt ever getting out of you! Once God delivers you from something, do not return back to the very thing God delivered you from. A lot of times that can make it much harder to break free from the next time. Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” We are not called to be entangled again in the devil’s web of our misery and sin, but we are stand strong in the freedom that Christ has given us. Also, you can receive deliverance from something and still have some hidden issues that need to be dealt with. Some seek to be free from addictions such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, sexual perversion or even cursing, but there still remains the root of those problems. It is just like treating illnesses. You can take “over the counter” medicine to deal with certain symptoms without it actually tackling the source of the infection. You may feel better for a small amount of time before the pain seems to enflame again. The church must not just deal with people’s symptoms, but rather the root of the infection, such as bitterness, fear, loneliness, anxiety, depression, anger, hate, etc. You can pick fruit off of an apple tree, but come next season, it will still produce fruit again because it is still firmly rooted. We cannot just deal with the fruit, but we must get to the root of the problem, confronting it with the power and authority of God’s Word. It is the only way that we can stop wondering in the wilderness and transition to the promise land where God desires for us to go, a land flowing with milk and honey!

Fourthly, the children of Israel used their jewelry to form an idol. In other words, they made an idol out of their appearance and possessions, something that many people do today. If we are not careful we make idols out of people and things, worshiping and devoting our time more to them than to the real God who has so richly blessed us. The children of Israel wanted to form an idol to represent gods that they worshiped in Egypt, distracting them from the presence of a tangible God. They wanted to revive its worship among them, glorifying a false god that does not even exist. It reminds me of Psalm 115:4-8, which says, “4Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 5They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:  6They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:  7They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. 8They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” People are equivalent to the idols that they worship because they all accomplish the same thing:  absolutely nothing! I would rather call on the Creator of the heavens and the earth as my Redeemer and hero than someone who has a million posters of themselves out there but never profits me nothing and is never there when I need them most.

What provoked God to such anger was not only because the children of Israel were so blinded that they were given credit to an idol for something He did, but the god that they were sinning for He had already conquered back in Egypt. The plagues of Egypt were a direct annunciation of judgment against their false religions. In Exodus 9:3, 6, the fifth plague of Egypt was diseases upon the livestock. Egypt considered several bulls and cows to be sacred. The Apis bull was the sacred animal of the god Ptah. Hator, goddess of love, beauty and joy, was represented by the cow. Commonly she appeared in human form, wearing on her head the sun-disc flanked by a cow’s horns. This goddess is often portrayed as a cow suckling the king and giving him divine nourishment. Mnevis, a sacred bull worshiped at Heliopolis, was associated with the sun god Re. It appeared with the solar disc and the sacred uraeus serpent between its thorns. All of these gods did Yahweh conquer in Egypt through this plague of diseases upon the livestock. Nonetheless, at the time, the livestock of the children of Israel were protected in Egypt because those were the people that God wanted to save and deliver from bondage. Again, do not be entangled in the yoke of bondage from which God has you set you free, but continue forward, knowing God’s grace has made you a new creation in His sight. He is bigger than anything or anyone else you can worship, and He deserves the glory!

The final thing to take note of is the reason why Moses was chosen to lead the children of Israel instead of Aaron. At the time Moses was commissioned to do this work, he made many excuses. No doubt he had a deep fear within himself for murdering an Egyptian, but he also consider himself as not a good speaker, one who stutters a lot. Aaron was not in Moses’ position because of his cowardice, although he was gifted with eloquence and knowledge. He wanted someone else to go with him to speak for him, which is why his brother, Aaron, was chosen alongside him. However, he did not possess the heart or potential that Moses did. Moses was willing to defend God’s honor! He was willing to pay any price necessary to obtain the glory of God. He did not allow the majority to effect him, but he did what was right in God’s sight no matter what. He refused to compromise to please people because he had an audience of one, God Almighty. While the nation was chasing after idols, Moses was chasing after the kabod, the heavy presence of God. As a result, Stephen, the first Christian martyr, spoke of Moses, how that he was mighty in words and deeds (Acts 7:22). Talents and abilities pale in comparison to the character, power, and anointing of God, and when we choose to humble ourselves and chase after His approval more than anything else, then we can rightfully lead people as true servants in His sight!