Questions-Day 7 (2/19/13)
Whose side are you on?
25 When Moses saw that the people were running wild (for Aaron had let them run wild, to the derision of their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side?"
Let's set the stage for this passage and question. Moses had been on the mountain for forty days. The people became impatient. The mighty acts of God and Moses' leadership are now just a dim memory. Forty days may not seem like a long time, but when you are in the wilderness without text messages, tv, radio, or internet, 40 days is a very long time. The people asked Aaron, Moses brother who also spoke for Moses early, to delivering to pharaoh the messages of upcoming plagues, for a god. With Aaron's consent and counsel, they melted down their golden earrings, and molded them into the form of a golden calf. They made a bull calf as a sign to them of the presence of God! After all, the pillars of cloud and fire before being led through the parted waters of the Red Sea were great when the Egyptians were chasing them, but they needed to know someone was with them, on their side, right now.
When Shawn and I first met and started dating in 1985, her younger brother had a stuffed animal, Sandwich. Sandwich was a rabbit, but not just any rabbit. Sandwich was a rabbit that Matt always wanted, needed, required, demanded, and insisted be with him. I like writing about Sandwich because it requires far less transparency to talk about the stuffed animals of my childhood. Besides, I had "hand-me-downs" from my sisters and I'm not sure I want to talk about my childhood memories yet. Maybe it was a stuffed animal, maybe it was a special blanket, or a toy, or a book, or a picture -- whatever it was you had something that was your proverbial "security blanket".
Probably the most well known figure to utilize a security blanket is the character Linus, created by Charles Schultz in the cartoon Peanuts. Here are at least two of the challenges Linus and his security blanket faced in the series.
(Lucy has buried Linus' blanket.)
Charlie Brown: Why don't you let me try to find some sort of substitute for your blanket? Maybe I could get you a dishtowel or something.
Linus: Would you give a starving dog a rubber bone?
(Linus walks past, dragging his blanket. Snoopy puts a paw on it.)
Linus : Get that paw off my blanket, you stupid dog or be prepared to suffer the
consequences! (Snoopy obeys.)
Snoopy: My life is full of unsuffered consequences . . .
Our memory is so fickle and short as humans. God's faithfulness is so quickly forgotten in the face of new challenges in the journey of life. We have much in common with the Jewish people of Exodus when it comes to "golden calf creations" to alleviate our anxieties. In the absence of Moses, upon whom the Jewish people depended as their prophet, leader and connection to God, the people created a golden calf by melting their possessions. Today, we need little more than a pin number or if ordering online the fancy little three digits on the back of your credit card know as the "CVV2" code. The real question is not about God's faithfulness to us, but our faithfulness to God. When we perceive God is absent or missing, we purchase, create and cling to idols. Coming down from the mountain, Moses question rings out to us today, “Who is on the Lord’s side?"
What do your actions say about whose side you are on?
P.S. No one knows where that golden calf is today, but the remnants and reminders of God's faithfulness fill the earth. Just saying . . .