Exodus 30:11-34:35 , 1 Kings 18:1-39, 1 Samuel 16-18, Luke 11:14-20; Acts 7:35-8:1
Only If You Go Too!
Any parent should be able to understand this Torah portion well. We have all experienced those times that our children disobey, but once in a while they do something that makes us look at them and say, “Just get out of my sight for a while!”
It is one thing when our children do this to us, but this week we read how the Hebrews crossed the line to the point that Abba told Moses he was to take the people from there, but He really did not want them in His presence anymore.
When we think back to what they had done, one can hardly blame Yah for not wanting to be with these folks anymore. Just think for a moment about this golden calf episode and you will have to admit this one is really over the top bad. To give the jewelry Yah has given you to make a tent for Him and use it to make a golden calf to worship is pretty bad. Place on top of this that as they were worshipping the calf the people were saying that it was the calf that brought them out of Egypt. Adding the lies of how the calf was formed just adds insult to injury. And by the way, did Aaron really think his brother was going to buy that one of throwing the gold in the fire and a calf popping out the other side? Now really, Aaron? It is no wonder HaShem said he did not want to go any further with these folks.
Moses finds himself in a real dilemma here though. Yah tells Moses to take the people from there, but He is not going with them. Now think about it, if Yah does not go with them then the cloud does not go with them. If the cloud does not go with them, how do they know which way to go? And what about if the cloud leaves, will the manna leave with it? And if the manna stops, what will happen to the rock that is giving them water? This calf thing is really starting to cost them, and Moses knows full well that if His presence does not go with these people they will soon be bones scattered through the desert. It is coming down to this Presence thing being a life and death situation. In the midst of it all Moses makes maybe the best decision of his lifetime when he looks to the heavens and says point blank, “If your presence does not go with us, don’t make us go from here.” Moses understands very well that the first step he takes without the presence of Yah will be the step that marks the end to him and to the people he is leading.
How much can we learn from Moses this week? Even asking that question seems a bit silly to me, but it is one we all should consider. Well maybe we should ask ourselves another question first, something like, “Just how much of life are we living without His presence already?” Stop and think about that for a moment. How many decisions do we make on a daily basis that do not involve Him? How many days do we begin without any time in His Word or without even a thought of what His plans may be for us that day?
Maybe we should not be making the same statement that Moses made, that he was not going on if Abba withdrew His presence. Maybe what we should be asking is for us to not be allowed to go one more step without His presence being restored unto us. Maybe the best thing we could do is repent for going as far as we have without His presence, doing things based not on His direction, but rather based on our own golden calf of self-reliance.
At this point in our Torah journey maybe we should not look down our noses at the Hebrews and how bad they behaved toward Abba. A more effective approach is to begin grinding up our own golden calves, and ask that not one more day be lived without His presence being restored unto us. Either way though, may we come into full agreement with Moses that if His presence does not go with us from this day forward, we should not be thinking about going anywhere! Greater exodus? Not without Him we don’t!