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Don’t Blame Me; It Wasn’t MY Fault!

Not My Responsibility by Flickr User Jean Browman aka cheerfulmonk, CC License = Attribution, Noncommerical, Share Alike

Not My Responsibility by Flickr User Jean Browman aka cheerfulmonk, CC License = Attribution, Noncommerical, Share Alike
Click image to open new tab/window to view original image and to access user’s full photo stream at Flickr.

Remember this round from school days?

Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?
You stole the cookies from the cookie jar.
Who, me?
Yes, you.
Couldn’t be.
Then who?

Even in our playtime, no one ever wanted to really take the blame. Whether it was because we didn’t really believe we would get caught, or because we truly thought that if we denied it people would drop the case, Now, as then, it doesn’t seem to be customary to confess our wrongdoings unless there is just too much solid proof. And even when there’s just no denying it because we have been caught red-handed, we still don’t take full responsibility. Instead, we try to create an excuse that makes it someone else’s fault.

In today’s reading from Exodus 31:18 through Exodus 33:11, we get to see what the people of Israel have been up to while Moses and the elders have been up on the mountain learning about God’s plans to show mercy on them through His law and through sacrifice. They’ve gotten bored. They’ve decided that they no longer trusted Moses to be in God’s favor and think God has killed him. And in believing their leader is gone, they’ve also decided they no longer have Yahveh as their God, so they call on Aaron to create a god for them to worship. If only they had known that though Moses couldn’t see what they were doing, he was aware of God’s anger toward them, and he was pleading for their souls to the very God they had abandoned.

So, imagine you’re like Moses, and you’ve just spent hours pleading with a judge to have mercy on a family member because you just know his or her behavior was a one-time thing. You want the judge to give the person another chance, and the judge agrees. You head to where the person lives to share the good news, and instead of gratefulness, you find a wild party going on. Wouldn’t you want to just scream, drive everyone out, and the beat the living tar out of the offender for not recognizing the absurdity of his or her actions? Moses sees these people dancing and singing around a golden calf, calling it their god, thanking it for delivering them from Egypt, and suddenly, his anger blazes into a raging flame. He throws down the tablets of commands he has just been spending so much time receiving and crushes the golden calf into dust. After he sprinkles the dust on the water, he makes the people drink it.

Now Moses confronts Aaron who was supposed to be watching the people. The Scripture says that Aaron allowed the people to get out of control. Remember that all this time, God has been telling Moses about the job Aaron was chosen to do as an anointed high priest. With that anointing, Aaron should have cared more for the people’s souls, and not given in to their whining voices. Now, when Moses confronts Aaron, what does he do? He pulls the infamous not me routine and blames all the behavior on the people–and in a way on God. He says he told the people to bring him gold to make them a god, and when he threw the gold in the fire, out popped a golden calf. Really, Aaron? Do you actually think anyone is going to believe that?

But all the excuses in the world were not going to change anything because God was looking on their hearts, and I’m guessing there were some that incited the people into believing the nonsense and giving up on God. He sent the true believers out to kill many of the unbelievers, and three-thousand people were killed that day. At the same time, Moses went back to the mountain to plead for God’s mercy one more time. God agreed to show mercy, but He still sent a plague on the people. He told Moses to continue to lead them to the promised land, but He also told them He could no longer walk with them because He would be too tempted to destroy them on the way.

As the reading comes to a close, Moses and Joshua set up a tent of meeting outside the camp since God will no longer walk into the camp. Whenever they go in to speak with God, the cloud of God’s presence resides over the top of the tent. The people, now being reconfirmed about God and His power, stand in the field watching Moses go into the tent, and when the cloud comes down, they fall on their faces and worship. While in the tent, Scripture says Yahveh would speak to Moses face to face as a man speaks to a friend.

I guess that last line should be the goal for each of us. We can find God on the mountain top, or we can see His feet from someplace a little lower than the top, or we can see His presence from a distance and fall down to worship Him. But, oh, how precious would it be to speak with Him face to face as with a friend? The veil that once separated all but the high priest from the presence of God was torn, so we can have that now, but it is nothing to take lightly. I believe we must tear the veil of sin from around our hearts on a regular basis, and let God in to that deepest place each day. It’s not easy. Like Paul said, “I die daily.” But our daily dying out to sin means a daily resurrection to new life in Him. That’s why His word says in Lamentations 3:22-23 that God’s mercies are begin fresh EVERY morning.

February 16, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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