Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we saw that Moses was not only a friend of God, but also a companion, an associate, of God. Moses and God were partners in a single enterprise. As God’s companion, Moses knew God’s heart and could converse with Him in an intimate way.
The fact that Moses was a companion of God was made manifest by the idolatrous people and among them. From this we who serve the saints in the churches may learn an important lesson. This lesson is never to blame the situation. The elders should not say, “Oh, all the brothers and sisters here are troublemakers. This makes it hard for us to go on. Let us resign, and let others come in to be the elders. Then they will taste how bitter it is to be an elder in this locality.” Sometimes this thought is in the heart of the elders. On a number of occasions I have heard elders speak in this way.
The elders need to see that how much we have been dealt with by the Lord and how much we have learned of the Lord will always be made manifest by the difficulties we face with the saints. It was the idolatrous people who made manifest Moses’ qualifications as God’s companion. Likewise, it will be troublesome saints who will create an opportunity for the Lord to manifest what He has done in us. If the elders only have to be involved with positive brothers and sisters, what the elders are would not be manifest.
The making of the golden calf was a severe blow to Moses. What should he do about the situation? This was determined by the kind of person he was. The evil situation among the children of Israel provided an opportunity for Moses to be manifested as a companion of God.
In 32:30 Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to Jehovah; perhaps I can make propitiation for your sin.” Here we see that Moses was willing to make propitiation in behalf of a people who were stiff-necked and idolatrous. In a human sense, this required a great deal of patience. If you had been Moses, would you have been willing to appease God for the sake of such a rebellious people? If we had been there, we might have urged God to wipe out such a people. It requires patience to do the work of appeasing or propitiating.
Moses sought to propitiate God by conversing with Him intimately. Exodus 32:31 says, “And Moses returned to Jehovah and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and they have made for themselves a god of gold.” Notice that Moses here uses the neutral expression “this people.” He does not say to the Lord “Your people”; neither does he refer to them as “my people.” God had said to Moses that it was Moses who had brought the people out of Egypt (32:7). But Moses said to God that it was God who had brought them out (32:11). But here Moses, following the way of a middleman, a mediator, uses a neutral expression and speaks neither of God’s people nor of his own people, but of “this people.”
There is no record that Moses gave God a report of how he dealt with the idolatrous people. He did not tell God that he ground the calf into powder, scattered the powder on the water, and forced the people to drink the water. Neither did he tell the Lord that he had called for some to slaughter the idolaters. What we have is a friendly, intimate conversation between Moses and the Lord. Moses simply told God that the people had sinned a great sin in making a god of gold.
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