By Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.MIN. M.TH
Have you experienced the glory and presence of the Lord on one hand, only to have to battle sin, brokenness, disappointment, discouragement, challenges, loneliness, pain, fear, anxiety, and worry on the other? At those times you may find yourself questioning the validity of the work that God had begun in your life. What I love about the encounters that Moses had with God is that God not only spoke to Moses on the mountaintop but God also spoke to Moses in the valley. Moses was told by God how to deal with pain, disappointment and problems he had encountered. (Exodus 32:33 cf. Exodus 33:1-5). As a result, Moses learned God is God whether on the mountain or in the valley.
In Exodus 19 Moses had returned to Egypt, dealt with Pharaoh, seen God use him in mighty ways to send plagues on the Egyptians; Moses witnessed the parting of the Red Sea and ultimately led the people out of Egypt on their way to the Promised Land. Moses had come a long way since his first mountaintop experience; but he still had a long way to go. Moses knew what it meant to be on the mountaintop. Exodus 24 records that “Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days… Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights” experiencing the presence and glory of God. (Exodus 24:15-18).
But Moses also knew the anguish of the valley. He came down off the mountain carrying the two tablets that God had given him only to find the Israelites had “made for themselves a golden calf, worshipped it… and sacrificed to it.” Moses was so distraught and enraged that he “threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.” Moses stood at the gate of the camp and asked “Who is on the Lord’s side.” Those who were on God’s side came near to Moses while the others who had chosen to worship the golden calf remained where they were. Three thousand of those who chose to stay with idolatry died that day at the command of Almighty God. (Exodus 32). The punishment may have seemed harsh, but it was a reminder we have a choice to follow God or remain on the path of eternal ruin and destruction. It is a willful decision and it must be made personally. As we continue to journey toward Calvary and the triumph resurrection of Jesus from the grave, remember the choice is yours. Have you decided to follow Jesus?
Next Week: Continuation The writer does not assume responsibility in any way for readers’ efforts to apply or utilize information or recommendations made in these articles, as they may not be necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. Rather, the objective is strictly informative and educational. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.