"Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance." Matthew 3:8
Text: Exodus 33 : 1-3
AT THE FOOT OF MOUNT SINAI
Probably the first long stop the children of Israel had was at the foot of Mount Sinai! They had come to this mountain for a specific purpose. They were to be given the privilege of receiving a special visit from the LORD!
It was at the foot of the mountain that Israel waited for Moses to return to them, to bring them back two tablets of stone written by the Lord Himself. Impatience and impetuosity caused the children of Israel to sin grievously against the Lord! They ended up worshipping a golden calf. They deeply regretted this foolishness! But was regret enough?
ORDER TO MOVE
The Lord gave a terse order to Moses to decamp! They were to be on the move again, heading towards Canaan. There was mixed reaction because of the way in which this command was issued.
“Then the LORD said to Moses,
‘Depart and go up from here, you and the people
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.””
What must have been disturbing to Moses, was the fact that God still used “the second person” when He spoke about Israel- “You and the people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt.” Moses knew that God’s anger still remained! And he did not have an answer to the problem!
THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Did the children of Israel want to go to Canaan? He will give to them the land He promised their forefathers! He would make sure that they will reach there safely, but He would keep His distance.
“And I will send My Angel before you,
and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite
and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and
the Jebusite. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey;
for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way,
for you are a stiff-necked people.”
God’s anger remained because the children of Israel had indeed proven themselves to be no more than a “stiff-necked people” all along! They had done nothing but to gripe and grumble all this while! Did they not know that they had sinned terribly against the Lord who had been so good and gracious all the time! He would still give them the land! He would still send His Angel to go with them! But He would not be in their midst as they journeyed to Canaan!