"Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes." Psalm 119:12
Text: Exodus 32 : 15-18
DOWN FROM MOUNT SINAI
With mixed feelings, Moses made his way down from Mount Sinai! The mountain-top experience of being alone with God, listening to Him explain about the Tabernacle worship was blighted by news of Israel worshipping a golden calf! Mercifully, God had promised to relent from the destruction that He threatened to bring down on Israel! Grimly Moses went down to see for himself what took place in Israel in his brief absence.
CARRYING TWO TABLETS OF STONE
Moses made his way carefully down the mountain, for he carried with him a most wonderful gift from God! This great God of Israel had personally written with His own hand the commandments that represented the Covenant established with Israel!
“And Moses turned and went down from the mountain,
and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand.
The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side
and on the other they were written. Now the tablets
were the work of God, and the writing was the
writing of God engraved on the tablets.”
As he came down the mountain, Moses’ heart must have been encouraged to see his assistant, Joshua. They had ascended the mountain together (Cf. Exodus 24:13). This young man had proven himself to be a faithful servant, waiting for the return of Moses!
“And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted,
he said to Moses, ‘There is a noise of war in the camp.'”
As they drew nearer to the camp of Israel, they heard shouts! Typical of one given to warfare, Joshua thought that the shouts they heard might suggest that Israel was under attack!
THE NOISE OF CAROUSING
Moses who already knew what had happened, sadly gave this rejoinder to Joshua.
“It is not the noise of the shout of victory,
Nor the voice of the cry of defeat,
But the sound of singing I hear.”
In any battle, one outcome or another must be expected. If there is victory, there will indeed be great shouts of joy! If there is defeat, loud voices will still be heard, but they would be interspersed by wailing too. The noise that came from the camp of Israel wasn’t either! It was “the sound of singing”. Moses did not disclose to Joshua what the Lord had already revealed to him! Israel had corrupted itself and had gone into wild carousing because of the idolatrous practices that went with calf-worship!