Each time I start reading my one year chronological Bible, it is smooth sailing until I hit Exodus and Leviticus. Isn’t that sad since they are right after Genesis! These chapters are hard. So many rules. And I am a rule follower. So I wonder if they are hard because I know I could never follow all of the rules.
Anyway, I pray each day that God will let me see this text differently. I don’t want to skim over it or get bogged down. My prayer is usually, “LORD, let me see you here. Let me see the people as people, not stories.”
So, here I am, in the middle of Exodus when I begin reading about the dedication of the priests. This goes on for chapters. There are very specific instructions. God is a good God. He tells you exactly what you need to do in order to please Him. You don’t have to wonder or guess. He is clear.
As I am reading through this, the Holy Spirit whispers into my spirit, “not anymore.” Because of Jesus, we don’t have to worry about what we eat, what we drink, what we wear, even the condition of our heart. Jesus is the bridge that allows me to come before God just as I am. When God looks at me, He sees Jesus and I am fully acceptable to Him. Once again, God is very clear on His instructions, when we realize how much we need a Savior, when we put our faith and hope in God, He is pleased with us.
What an incredible God we serve. He is clear, authentic, loving and a pursuer. We don’t have to wait to be good enough. Jesus makes us good enough.
As I continue on through Exodus, I read about how Moses met with God on Mt. Sinai. The Israelites knew where Moses went and they knew why he was gone. He was having a conversation with God about them. And just to make sure they were not without a leader, Aaron was left in charge. Now Aaron was not only Moses’ brother, but also his right hand man. When Moses was afraid to speak to Pharaoh, God allowed Aaron to speak for him. Aaron had seen the power of God first hand.
The Israelites began to worry about Moses. They began to worry that he was not coming back; so they went to Aaron with a solution. “Come on,” they said. “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:1)
You might think after all that Aaron saw, he would scold them for even asking. They were God’s chosen people. He delivered them out of captivity in Egypt where they had been for 400 years. Not only were they free, but Pharaoh and the army that pursued them was drowned in the Red Sea. You know, the sea God parted so they could walk on dry land to the other side.
During other times in my life, I would judge the Israelites harshly. How could they really be so shallow and have such little faith after all God has done for them? How could Aaron listen to them? The gold they gave Aaron to form the calf, it was the same gold God had provided to them through the Egyptians as they left Egypt. The whole scene boggles the mind, until I hear that whisper again in my own heart.
Don’t I do the same thing? God has delivered me from captivity. He delivered me from habits, people, sin and thought patterns that kept me captive for years. But once I was delivered, I cleaned myself up and started to believe that somehow I did it. Or at least had a part in it. Or maybe it was the medicine provided by doctors? Or that I learned my lesson? I begin to take the credit away from God and instead give it to myself, loved ones or just things. I form my own golden calf.
Aaron and the Israelites were not bad people. They took their eyes off of God. Anytime we take our eyes off of God. Anytime we look around, instead of up. We risk becoming just like the Israelites that day. We can trick ourselves and begin to believe we can take credit for where we are. Or that someone or something deserves credit for what God has done.
This is also dangerous because it begins to give us license to judge others. Just like I judged the Israelites.
LORD, help us to keep our eyes on You. Forgive us for taking credit for what only you can do. Thank you for Your Son who makes us righteous in Your sight.
So, what are you studying?
Teresa Neal is a Christ follower, wife, and mother. Her passion is to see women grow in their relationship with Jesus and understand how great His love is for them. She is attends LCBC Church in Waynesboro and leads a women’s life group. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.