It is said that when the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was all
alone he was so fearful for his safety that his residence in
Moscow contained eight bedrooms. Each night Stalin chose a
bedroom at random to ensure that no one knew exactly
where he was sleeping. (Source unknown). … More
Moses was summoned by the Lord to come up on Mount Sinai where he was to receive the tablets of stone, with the law (v. 12). After the meal Moses and his assistant Joshua got ready, then Moses leaves the others behind and proceeds up the mountain (v. 13). Apparently Joshua is allowed to come part way, although just how far is not mentioned. While Moses was gone the leadership of the people was temporarily delegated to his brother Aaron and Hur who was a trusted and respected leader (v. 14). As Moses goes further up the mountain he sees a cloud covering it for six days until God calls to him on the seventh day to enter the cloud with him (vv. 15-16). This cloud is an indication of God’s presence with Moses. His glory resides in the form of a cloud.
Moses remained on the mountain alone with God for forty days and nights (vv. 17-18). You may be wondering what he could possibly be doing for forty days and forty nights. The answer to this is given in chapters 25 through 31 which tells us about the tabernacle and the instructions for building it that was given to Moses there on Sinai. The cloud’s settling on the mountain thus anticipates the settling of the cloud over the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38).
While Moses was experiencing spiritual victory on the mountain the people of God became fearful because of Moses delay and said: “We don’t know what has happened to him.” They then went to their temporary leader (Ex. 24:14), Aaron, and asked him to make them gods (Ex. 32:1-6). He did not have the backbone to stand up to this blatant treason and idolatry. He requested that the people give him all their Gold earrings, which they did. He took these and fashioned them into a molten calf and announced, “These be the gods of Israel.” God then tells Moses that his people have corrupted themselves, are stubborn and do not accept responsibility.
The Israelites soon forgot God and became fearful! When people are gone and situations around me are not familiar, how long does it take me to forget God and become fearful?
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View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »
Exodus 21:1-11The Law Concerning Servants
Exodus 21:12-21The Law Concerning Violence
Exodus 21:22-36Animal Control Laws
Exodus 22:1-6Property Laws
Exodus 22:7-17Laws For Everyday Life
Exodus 22:18-31Moral And Ceremonial Principles
Exodus 23:1-9Equal Justice For All
Exodus 23:10-19Three Annual Feasts
Exodus 23:20-33A Promise And a Warning
Exodus 24:1-11The People Agree to Obey God
Exodus 24:12-18Moses on Mt Sinai
Exodus 25:1-9Offerings For The Santuary
Exodus 25:10-22The Ark of The Covenant
Exodus 25:23-30The Table of Showbread
Exodus 25:31-40The Golden Lampstand
Exodus 26:1-37Furnishings For The Tabernacle
Exodus 27:1-21The Altar of Burnt Offering