SER # 39Wa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
19TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SUNDAY OCTOBER 11TH 2020
TEXTS: EXODUS 32: 1 – 14
THEME: A GOD OF SECOND CHANCE.
God had journeyed with his people making sure that all their needs were covered. Moses as their leader sought guidance from God often. He would go up the mountain to meet God and get the new direction. In our reading today Moses had god up there and overstayed the expectation of the people left behind. By this time Moses has been guiding the Israelites for a number of years but they were still in the wilderness. They had seen and experienced God in several ways:
- God creating a way where there was no way: When they came by the Red Sea and they needed to cross Yahweh provided a way for them. “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into a dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on a dry ground with walls of water on their right and on their left” Exodus 14: 21 – 22).
- Providing food in the desert: Yahweh never let his people starve while on the journey. He provided real food for them and made sure that the food was enough. “Then the LORD said to Moses, I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in and that is to be twice as much as they gather other days……………Moses also said you will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you wand in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD…………That evening quail came and covered the camps, and in the morning there were layers of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, what is it? For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘it is the bread the LORD has given you to eat” (Exodus 16: 4 – 5; 8; 13 – 15).
- Providing water for them and their livestock: “But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, ‘why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst? Then Moses cried out to the LORD, ‘what am I to do with these people? they are almost ready to stone me. The LORD answered Moses, ‘go out in front of the people. take withyou some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink. So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel” (Exodus 17: 1 – 6).
- Healing them from deadly snake bites: “The LORD said to Moses, make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. So, Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake they lived” (Numbers 21: 8 – 9).
- Leading then by the pillar of fire at night and a cloud during the day: “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on the way and by night in pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people” (Exodus 13: 21 – 22).
We can say that God was everything for them. He provided the leadership through Moses and other tribal elders. We can argue by this time they had experienced God or Yahweh in all dimensions of life yet this passage we read today takes us by surprise and kept wondering what was wrong with these people? When God’s anger was so great that he would have easily destroyed them, Moses helped him to change his mind. By God changing his mind he was giving these people a second chance. The bottom line of this passage is that God changed his mind and never destroyed his people. Like always let us allow ourselves to learn from this passage and hope our faith walk with God will be informed.
- People became impatient: After all that we have seen above and what God had done for them the became impatient waiting for Moses. This was how Moses got instruction from God by meeting Yahweh up in the mountain. People could not wait long enough for they though that their God had abandoned them. We know as believer we are caught in this web of being impatient and we take it in different ways: A) God is not answering my question quick enough. We tend to create our own time line and with think that God should follow that. Time line when certain thing needs to have happened. We forget we are not in control of everything that happened around us. God has a plan that we may never fully comprehend because we are humans. When Moses went up the mountain people expected him to be back at a certain time and when that time passed they god impatient. Patient is a virtue that helps us to be better people when faced with challenges of life. B) God does not seem to understand my situation. We have an understanding God. Children a quick to tell their parents, “You don’t understand.” What these children forget is that there was a time in your life you were at their age even though is different time. Parents being understanding has been proved with time. I children become adult they start coming back to the parents and affirming the parents’ guidance. Parent have their children about unhealthy relationship but some children ignore it just to regret down the road. In the same way our God fully understands what we are going through and that why he calls for a trust from us. He created us and know our strength and weaknesses. C) God does not care what is happening with me. God cares so much about you and what happens to us. God demonstrated his care for you and me by offering his son to die for us on the cross. There can never be a better care than that of someone giving their life for you. We have to believe that God is so caring that that he reminds us through these words of Jesus that we should not worry. “Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in bans, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26). Or as we read again in Matthew 10: 29 – 31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than the sparrows.” By coming up with any of the three conclusions we will tend to take matters on our own. They don’t end well. The Israel took the matter in their hand and decided to make their own god who will be with them at all time. They seem to have forgotten these kinds of gods existed in Egypt and they had no match for Yahweh. In fact, they were statues or dead gods.
- People rebelled against God: The people of Israel were rebelling against god by asking Joshua to make them a god they could worship. They were rejecting the “I AM” who had carried them from the land of oppression and they were on the way to the promised land. In rejecting God, they had to make their own god, that why they forced Aaron to do that. We may not know how many people were heading this rebellion against Yahweh but we do know that people were willing to give their valuables to make the calf for them to worship. They seem once more to forget who their God was and how much he cared for them. Like a child that chooses to rebel against their parent the Israelites had not thought through what would be the consequences of their rebellion. Were it not for Moses intervention God’s anger was so high that he wanted to destroy them all. “The LORD said to Moses, I ‘ve been watching the people, and I have seen how stubborn they Now leave me alone! Let my fury burn and devour them. Then I will make a great nation out of you” (Exodus 32: 9 – 10). God’s plan was to punish them in a way that he would wipe them away from the face of the earth. God was maybe wondering why were people this stubborn yet he had done so many things for them. We the people of faith today we have to watch ourselves when it come to our faith walk. We have to learn to listen and obey what we are guided by his word. We know that before this God had punished people in many ways. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire (Genesis 18:22ff). In the time of Noah he flooded the whole earth (Genesis 7: 1ff).
- God changes his mind: It is true that God can change mind through the persuasions of a righteous person. That is why you have to intercede for other people so that God would have mercy of them. In this passage Moses pleads with God. “But Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, LORD why does your furry burn against your own people whom you brough out of the land of Egypt with great power and amazing force? Why should the Egyptians say, He had an evil plan to take the people out and kill them in the mountains and so wipe them off the earth? Calm down your fierce anger, change your mind about doing terrible thing to your own people” (Exodus 32 11 – 12). Moses reminded God the promise he had made to Abraham, Isaac and to Jacob of making a great nation out of them He promised a place for them to settle. We are told because of this God changed his mind. The wish of righteous person like you and make God change his m We know that Abraham pleaded for his nephew Lot so that God would not destroy the city but there were not enough faithful people there but he allowed Lot and his family to leave the town before it was destroyed. We invite people of God to play for our country and the world in general so that people can be saved from this pandemic that has devastated us. Go is keep to change when we are willing to change. God was planning to destroy Nineveh but when the King repented, he changed his mind. The word reached the King of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, ‘By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it” (Jonah 3: 6 – 10).
God is giving you and me a second chance to get our acts together. Are you willing to take it?