Exodus 32; Leviticus 1; Matthew 19; Psalm 115
We’re living in an era that demands first-hand revelation! Indeed, there’s never been a time when first-hand revelation wasn’t essential. We receive grace and faith from the Lord – these are His gifts to us.
As a pastor raising two wonderful kids, I can assert with certainty that growing up in church, surrounded by church activities, does not guarantee our children a living relationship with God. Each of them has had to make their own decision to pursue the Lord.
First-hand revelation is crucial.
Moses had an epic encounter with the Lord. After 40 years in the desert, God called him out of the burning bush, introducing Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
And there was more! God revealed to Moses His plan to liberate Israel, millions of people, the enslaved workforce of Egypt. He chose Moses to confront Pharaoh and dismantle that system of slavery.
Moses’s actions as Israel’s deliverer stemmed from that personal encounter with God.
Initially reluctant to speak, Moses asked God about partnering with his brother Aaron. Moses would hear from God and relay the message to Aaron, who would then tell the people.
This arrangement worked.
Until it didn’t.
It functioned until Moses was absent. Suddenly, when left to lead on his own, it became apparent that Aaron was not operating from first-hand revelation. Instead, he was acting on the revelation given to Moses, not his own.
Left to his own devices, Aaron listened to the people. He operated out of confusion and quickly fell into idolatry.
Exodus 32:1-2 recounts the people’s impatience and Aaron’s reaction: “When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, ‘Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ So Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’”
Despite his position of authority, Aaron was not a true leader. He followed the people and their trends. A people-pleaser in the most dangerous sense, he succumbed to their demands and even fashioned their idol.
Today, how many leaders operate without their own revelation from God? They are mere spokespersons with no personal experience with God. Is it any wonder our churches face such idolatrous tendencies?
Relying on polls will never produce a move of God. Who do we think we are?
Shirking responsibility, Aaron blamed the people for the outcome. Perhaps this logic seemed rational to him, given that he was always a follower rather than a leader.
Exodus 32:21-24 shows Moses confronting Aaron and Aaron’s deflection: “And Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?’ And Aaron said, ‘Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.’”
Aaron was no leader, and his lack of leadership cost the people dearly. The Lord’s anger was kindled against Aaron and the people for their disloyalty and disobedience.
Because Aaron had as much opportunity for first-hand experience with God as he desired. God was there to be found every day. Fire by night, cloud by day, God had faithfully led Israel.
Aaron didn’t know God because he didn’t choose to know God.
This serves as a warning to us.
Hebrews 3:7-11 warns us against hardening our hearts: “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Open our ears, Lord! We must hear Your voice. Speak to our hearts, Lord.
Deepening Faith: Reflective Journal Prompts
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