Ep.022: Whose People are These Anyway?

Hi, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me.”

Today’s story begins after Moses led the Israelite slaves out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, to the foot of Mt. Sinai. Moses left the people there and went up the mountain to talk with God. The people got tired of waiting to hear from God and Moses, so they collected all their gold jewelry, made a golden calf to represent the god who brought them out of Egypt, and had a holiday eating and drinking and worshipping the calf.

When God saw this, he said to Moses, “I think we have a crisis. You’d better head back down because YOUR people whom YOU brought up out of Egypt have turned away from me and made an idol in the shape of a calf.”

“In fact,” said God, “I’m so angry at these stiff-necked people that I want to destroy them and start over again with you, Moses. I will make you into a great nation.”

Starting over like this was not a new idea for God. At creation, he started with Adam and Eve in the Garden, but when that project went bad, he sent them away to start over on thorny ground. A few hundred years later, the thorny ground project went bad too. So God sent a big flood to wipe out the people of the earth, and started over again, this time with Noah. After that, he started something new with Abraham. And now he’s offering to start over again with Moses. I think that’s a pretty decent offer God made to Moses.

But Moses wasn’t so sure. He didn’t even respond to God’s offer, he simply ignored it and said, “God, don’t be so angry with YOUR people whom YOU brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand.”

So who do these problem people belong to, God or Moses?

There are lessons for us and our prayers…

  1. First, it’s not always a good idea to start over. Divorce, church splits, quitting your job, declaring bankruptcy, moving to a new city, changing your name — these often look like the gift of a fresh start. But whatever problems you brought to your current situation, you will probably bring to the new situation too. Good on Moses for ignoring God’s suggestion to start over with him.
  2. Second, think for a moment about who the problem-people in your life belong to. We are all sons and daughters of God. Our children are his, not ours. Our church belongs to him, not us. Our partner is his problem as much as ours. Follow Moses’ example in your prayers. Say to God, “These are your people, God. You created them, you love them, and you need to deal with them. Or at least, you need to help me deal with them.”

Our Father in heaven, forgive our arrogance in thinking that if you started over with us, the new order would be a great success. Teach us instead to live in love and wisdom with all our fallen brothers and sisters.

I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.

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