Then, while Moses was up on the holy mountain receiving God’s law for His people, the people rebelled against the Lord, rejected Him as the God of their lives, and began worshipping a golden calf, reflecting the pagan culture and beliefs from which they had been rescued. Now the Lord was really angry with them. He said to Moses in Exodus 32:7-8, “The people you brought from Egypt have defiled themselves. They have already turned from the way I commanded them to live. They have made an idol shaped like a calf, and they have worshipped and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of Egypt.’” Then the Lord said in Exodus 32:9 that He wanted to wipe them out, and build a new nation around Moses. But Moses intervened on behalf of the people. He pleaded with the Lord to turn from His anger and stand by the covenant He had made with the Israelites (Exodus 32:11-13), although he himself became very angry and ordered many of the most grievous offenders killed. Moses then asked the Lord to forgive the people’s sins and spare their lives. Although, the Lord was willing to forgive, many suffered as a result of their sins (Exodus 32:31-35). Now, however, in Exodus 33 the Lord is telling Moses that He will allow him to lead the people to the Promised Land, even showing them the way through an angel, but that He would not go with them.
Question – “Have you ever rebelled against the Lord, indulged in idolatry, and committed blasphemy against the Lord?” We’ve all at least rebelled against the Lord in some way at some time in our lives. We have all “turned from the way that the Lord has commanded us to live” and just as there were repercussions for the rebellion and sin of the Israelite people, our rebellion and overt sin brings implications to our lives (Galatians 6:7). When we recognize rebellion and waywardness in our lives, we must immediately repent and “get back on the Lord’s side” (Exodus 32:26) so that many of the consequences from our sin can be alleviated or eliminated.
Second Question – “Have you ever moved forward and onward in life without the Lord’s leadership or presence?” Again, most of us have been in this position at some point since our Christian conversion. We have made decisions, moved locations or vocations, entered into relationships, etc., without seeking counsel from the Lord or without following His leadership. When we are tempted to move forward and onward without the Lord, we must determine and fully understand the consequences. We must become like the Israelite people who refused to move on unless the Lord went with them. Moses said to the Lord, “If you don’t go with us personally, don’t let us move a step from this place” (Exodus 33:15).
Primary Question – “Are you moving forward and onward in life (or even remaining stuck in life) without the Lord’s leadership, direction, presence, power and provision?” You could be if you haven’t repented of sins from the past or present, or if you’re not worshipping and following God every day of your life. We will not have the favor of the Lord or fellowship with the Lord if we are not establishing daily that the Lord is with us, and that He is guiding us, directing us, providing for us and preparing the way for us.
As you pray today: 1) Ask the Lord to forgive you for any rebellion or sin in your life; 2) Ask the Lord to fully surround you with His presence and power; and 3) Ask the Lord to lead, guide and direct your life – communicating to Him that you’re not moving until He is your LORD and He is guiding you.