The LORD called to him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel."
Moses tells the people these things, and then the Lord gives more direction to Moses (Exodus 19: 9):
And then the Lord speaks to the people:
And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever."
Many times when I read about the Israelites, I wonder how they could see and hear and touch and feel the Lord's majesty and provision and yet turn to idols. Pride makes me imagine that I would surely not turn away if I saw such wonders from the Lord. . . Truth says otherwise, since I have seen wonders of salvation and grace and mercy and still disbelieve.
I'm still curious, though. WHY do we doubt the Lord so easily when we have seen His power? The people SAW the Lord part the Red Sea. Every day, food fell from heaven. Moses struck a rock and God gave them water. The Lord appeared to them in a cloud. Yet, within weeks, the people are demanding that Aaron make them another god to take care of them. WHY??
Exodus 32:1 records what the people said after Moses had been gone on the mountain to get the law from the Lord:
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, "Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."
The people didn't know what was taking Moses so long. They could not wait.
If you have read this blog at all, even just the title, you know that waiting has been a theme of mine for a while. . . A theme of the Lord's, actually. Why did the Israelites turn to idols? Because they could not wait for Moses to come back. Why did they grumble against the Lord? Because they could not wait to take the land. Why do I lose heart and get discouraged? Because I can't wait for what the Lord is doing. Why do I try and get what I want by my own means? Because I feel I have waited long enough. A huge reason for our frustration and the resultant sin is the difficulty we have in waiting.
Yet, the Lord is showing me more and more that His very purpose in the waiting is to grow our faith. Since faith is "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1), the absolute only way we will obtain faith is by believing the Lord for what we do not see. I will only believe God is working things together for good by waiting and trusting Him in the bad and then seeing the good. I will believe the Lord takes care of me by waiting for His provision and receiving it when I can't do it myself. I will believe in the grace of God by experiencing it when I walk through the pain. Much to my chagrin, I am finally understanding that there are no shortcuts to a relationship with the Lord or to genuine faith. There is no "easy button."