SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- The previous chapters have consisted of a conversation God was having with Moses while Moses was near the top of a mountain. In this chapter we see the conclusion of that conversation, as well as what Moses' people did in his absence.
- Moses' people had grown restless because he was on the mountain for so long. Assuming God had nothing for them, they decided to worship fake gods, or idols, that they constructed out of different materials. They followed this up with revelry.
- Aware of what was going on, God became upset and told Moses that he was going to punish the rebellious Israelites by "destroying" them. However, Moses was able to persuade God to show grace to his people despite their foolish behavior.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- When it feels like it has been a long time since we felt God in our lives, it can become easy to think he has given up on us. This feeling can lead us to do things that are destructive to ourselves and to our relationship with God. But just because we haven't heard from God doesn't mean he hasn't been working. As we see with the Israelites in today's reading, the times we think God is absent are often the times when God is working behind the scenes.
- When we talk to God, he listens. God could have chosen to ignore Moses' pleas to spare his people who had turned to idols, but he instead opted to hear -- and ultimately agree with -- Moses.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Does it seem like a long time since God has done something in your life? If so, stay focused on growing closer to him and don't become distracted by things that will bring you short-term relief or pleasure. God may be working in a way you don't expect to produce something in your life that is bigger and better than anything you could dream up. Ask God to keep you focused and to guide your steps as you wait for him to fully reveal what he is doing.
- Do you believe God listens to you when you talk to him? Take time today to tell God how you're feeling about him, what you're going through, and how you want others to grow closer to him. God doesn't always respond to our prayers in the way we expect. But when we talk, he listens.