Take A Side

November 23, 2021

Exodus 32.21-29

21 He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”

22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.

2Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”

Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.  Moses does not ask the people if they are with him, he asks if they are with the Lord.  So, as much as I hate to see the part that follows, it brings understanding that they were all offered a place.  All were invited to come and be for the Lord.  Yet many do not move, they stay opposed to God.

Hearing of people who are condemned to eternity without God is sad, but it is difficult for many of us to understand when people can clearly hear the call of God, and have seen God at work in life, still not believing in God.  James tells us that even the demons believe in God, yet they shudder.  Paul tells us in Romans 1 that no one is able to say they did not know or had no opportunity.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

We could dwell on the actions and the plight of the people then, wondering about the way things were.  We would do much better to see ourselves.  Because the people there had been called as the people of God, they had been set aside and led out of Egypt.  But not all truly believed.  Not all were following God as much as they were simply leaving Egypt.

Joshua will have to confront the people about being those who follow God in Joshua 24.  They respond that they will serve the Lord.  And then we will read in Judges how they follow, then stop following, they suffer, they are rescued, and then follow again.  And the cycle will continue throughout history.

We are the ones given opportunity to let go of the things that keep us from God.  We are offered opportunity to follow, to truly live as the people of God.  May we always be those who say, “We will serve the Lord.”  May we be those who follow through and serve our God for all our days.

SongThere is a Redeemer

Prayer

Lord God, it is hard to think that we will die someday.  We dream, make plans, and talk about what we’ll do in the near future.  We don’t always think about what you want.  Instead, we make choices that we think are good for us.  But we are only here because you take care of us.  We confess that we forget we need you all the time.  We confess that sometimes we make choices that aren’t what you want.  We don’t know what is best for our lives.  Holy God, we are sorry for our sin.  Help us to remember we live because of you.  Help us to do what you want us to do through Jesus, our Lord.  Amen.

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