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. (Ex 33:3)
After the Israelites worshiped the golden calf, God said that He would not go with the people, but would send an angel instead. So, God showed the Israelites that their perverseness made this severe punishment necessary for them. However, even in His judgment, He remembered to show mercy to them. The Ten Commandments and related laws defined Israel’s relationship with God. To obey those laws was to act righteously, because such obedience maintained the covenant between God and His people. As David wrote, “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Ps 103:7-8).
So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.” (Ex 33:17-18)
After the Israelites worshiped the golden calf, Moses spent forty days and nights interceding for the people. Finally, God honored Moses’ bold intercession, and He promised to restore His relationship with Israel. Yet Moses was still not satisfied, and He wanted more in his personal relationship with God. We may have been Christians for many years, but have we ever really longed for some personal experience or direct knowledge of God? We all ask for personal blessings, but how much do we desire to know God Himself? That is what Moses asked for: “Show me Your glory”.
Recently, some brothers and sisters who had not come to church in a long time came back to attend service. I was both surprised and glad to see them again. When I told other members that they had returned, they also reacted with surprise and joy. However, our reactions made me realize one thing – in a sense, we were surprised because we were not expecting them to come back. In a sense, though we must have prayed for these lost sheep at one point in time, we were surprised because for a long time, we may have forgotten about them.
As we read Joseph’s story again, you may realize as you get older that our difficulties are nothing compared to what he went through. But before we get to the turning point of maturity, most of us feel that what we go through is bad, something that no one will understand. But what we have in common with Joseph is that we are all God’s children. If we reflect on Joseph’s life difficulties, we realize God must understand our difficulties and will provide a way out for us in order to overcome. As Joseph’s life was in God’s hand and His salvation plan, so are our lives, are they not?
But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. (Mt 25:18, ESV)
When I read the parable of the talents, I never quite think of myself as the wicked and lazy servant who buried his talent in the ground. I was actively serving at church – it wasn’t like I wasn’t using the talents that God gave me! But there’s another way to bury our talents apart from not using them, and that is by being complacent.