Going Home After A Mountain Top Experience
Our journey on earth includes highs and lows—ups and downs. Great victories are normally followed by great testing. Such was the experience of Moses after his holy encounter on the mount.
While Moses was on Sinai with God there was a FIASCO back among his flock—“They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it…” (Ex. 32:8). No doubt some of you returned home only to find a mess. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice…” (1 Pet. 4:12-13). Satan seeks to reverse every advance and destroy your greatest blessings by clouding our hearts and minds with difficulty. This is NORMAL in spiritual warfare.
Moses’ FRUSTRATION was due to disappointment with those closest to him. Aaron went along with this idolatrous compromise. “And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand…And the tables were the work of God…as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount” (32:15-19). Even after forty days alone with God, he got angry and smashed the commandments to bits. If this happened to Moses, do not be surprised if you encounter such aggravations that your heart rises up in an angry outburst.
But, thanks be to God, his FAILURE was not final. God called him to retrace his steps back to the mount with fresh tablets of stone. “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there…And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed…The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth…And Moses made haste…and worshipped” (34:5-8). Grace means innumerable second chances. For every two steps forward there is often a step backward. If you fall down, don’t stay down! Get to Cross—get cleansed—get filled—and get going again!
In the midst of tremendous heartache, Moses dealt FAITHFULLY and did right in the sight of God. “And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire…Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me.…Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion… and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men” (32:20-28). His obedience was costly, but his faithfulness spared the nation. You may be called upon to make hard decisions, so remember, obedience always brings blessing.
The FELLOWSHIP that Moses lost was completely restored. “Be ready…and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me” (Ex. 34:2). Broken fellowship with God, due to personal sin, can be instantly renewed by humbly returning to the LORD. “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (33:11). Isn’t the restoring grace of God something wonderful?!
God was concerned about the FUTURE so He gave Moses specific instructions. Worshipping strange gods was strictly forbidden and the Israelites were commanded to separate from the resident pagans and their practices—“Destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: For thou shalt worship no other god” (34:13-14). The people and things that cause you to fall may have to go, but the LORD has the supply of friends and power you need to sustain your walk in victory.
Moses’ recovery was quick and so thorough that his FACE radiated the glory of God. “And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone” (34:20). As J. D. Drysdale said, “We accomplish more through our radiations than our exhortations.” God wants to use every one of us as His instruments of healing and salvation to a world drowning in despair. “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57). The God of the mountain is also the God of the valley.
Harold Vaughan 3/18/2014 (www.christlifemin.org)