by Rev Joel Yong
Exodus 32:1 ESV
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.
Why did they craft the Golden Calf and pursue idolatry?
They grew tired of waiting.
They wanted a more convenient worship.
God doesn’t grant us a prayer request and there is no answer as yet. And we think maybe He isn’t there.
Church worship service timing changed and in our opinion, they are too early for us. And so we stop going.
We can now download sermons online and so we cease to go to church on a regular basis.
Friends, the worship of God isn’t about what suits our timing or how immediately He responds to us (God isn’t a Customer Service hotline and we sure aren’t His customers!)
As we will see- when Moses comes down the mountain- he comes with 2 tablets bearing God’s way … God’s commands.
The worship of God is not about the preferences of man.
It is about the commands of God.
When we live to follow and honor Him, our entire life becomes our presentation of worship. NOT just a song we sing or a 90 min weekend service.
by Rev Joel Yong
Exodus 28:42-43 ESV
You shall make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They shall reach from the hips to the thighs; and they shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near the altar to minister in the Holy Place, lest they bear guilt and die. This shall be a statute forever for him and for his offspring after him.
After a long list of instructions on priestly clothing- the Lord ends with instructions on priestly underwear.
You see, on the outside – a servant of God may seem decked in all the right obediences to God’s ways.
But on the inside – where no one else knows except you and God – only then is true obedience found.
A priest could have worn all the outer gear but worn non regulation underwear. No one would know except God and the priest.
Search your heart this day because before God all is made known.
Follow Him not just in appearance but in the innermost recesses of your heart.
by Rev Joel Yong
Exodus 22:29-30 ESV
You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me.
“You shall not delay …”
No delay was permitted.
Soon as the harvest came in- people were to give from it unto God.
It was meant to teach them to always remember that they have a harvest only because of God giving it to them.
The same applies to their livestock.
Perhaps it is because of our consumeristic society that espouses “The customer is always right.” that we have a sense of entitlement.
We paid X amount of dollars for a service or product and its thus OURS and we can have certain expectations of rights that we have as a consumer.
This attitude has since spilled over into our sense of entitlement regarding our bodies.
“Its my body so I can do what I want.”
Scripture reminds us of a different truth-
1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
Surrender your sense of entitlement this day and worship the Lord. Remember He is the Giver of all things and give thanks.
by Rev Joel Yong
Exodus 19:5-6 ESV
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.
What a cause to celebrate!
He was choosing them as His own!!
The people of Israel rejoiced at words such as-Exodus 19:6 ESV
and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.
But if they read the context in which those words were set- they would find that there are requirements to this deal!
Exodus 19:5 ESV
Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;
Now fast forward about 2 generations later and Joshua has died and look at what the people did.
Judges 2:11-15 ESV
And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.
And God turned against them.
Not out of spite.
But He chastised them so that they may learn to follow the right paths once again!!
Judges 2:16-18 ESV
Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.
When we celebrate God’s goodness- let us not take it for granted.
Too often we celebrate the blessing and forget what the Giver is like and what He teaches.
by Rev Joel Yong
Exodus 14:2-4 ESV
Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
They are on the run.
Having been freed from Egyptian slavery – they are making their way towards freedom when Moses receives new instructions.
He is told to deliberately camp at a location with the sea on one side of the camp.
Then he is told that the Egyptians are going to come hunting them down.
Strategically the spot God chose for them meant they would be trapped with no place to retreat to as the sea was a natural barrier cutting off all means of escape for such a numerous people as the Hebrews.
What would you do if you were Moses?
Do a double take and ask “God are you sure about this?”
But amazingly it says “And they did so.”
Perhaps witnessing the 10 plagues did something to Moses spiritually.
He started to see how powerful this God is.
No doubt the people would respond in doubt again here and there later on in their Exodus journey.
But as for their leader Moses – he now believed.
His words to the people:
Exodus 14:13-14 ESV
And Moses said to the people, Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
What about you?
How are you continually remembering what God has done and can do?
How are you letting these remembrances fuel your faith in what God is going to do for you today?
May Moses’ transformation also be your transformation as you deliberately and regularly contemplate His goodness.
by Rev Joel Yong
Exodus 10:2 ESV
and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.
The great things God does, were never meant to be a testimony to just 1 generation.
Like how stories of heroes are retold throughout the generations- God’s great deeds are meant to be repeated and retold to our children and to their children and the generations after.
The failure on our part … is when we leave this task to only our Sunday School teachers.
It is also our task as parents and uncles and aunts to tell these stories.
Well you see- the storytelling forms the identity of not just the listener but also that of the storyteller.
In this case, when Hebrew grandparents tell their grandchildren the story of the Exodus – it reaffirms this identity they share as a people rescued by God.
In like manner- when Christian parents tell our young these same stories rather than leave it to Sunday School teachers – it forms a family identity of who we are. A family blessed by God’s grace- before we came to be in existence, this God we follow has already been faithful.
And guess what – He still is.
by Rev Joel Yong
Exodus 5:2 ESV
But Pharaoh said, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.
Pharaoh did not know the God of Israel.
It sounded like a word of defiance but it was true.
No doubt he was familiar with the Egyptian pantheon of deities but not Israel’s God.
His words – become a challenge to God to make Himself known.
And God acts in response.
Check out His words in the next chapter-
Exodus 6:1 ESV
But the Lord said to Moses, Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.
The 10 plagues were not random. They were specifically chosen to prove a point- they showed how God was in control of the weather and of the river sources and of the animals that creep on earth and even life itself! And not the Egyptian deities as Pharaoh had believed.
Psalm 14:1 NLT
Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; not one of them does good!
We can either be the kind of people who say “Thy will be done.” Or whom God says these words “Alright then. Have it your way.”
I pray we are the former and not the latter for that is foolishness.