Exodus 33: Try Not to Stray
The more I read about the Israelites, the more I realize that we are a lot more like them than we would like to admit. For instance, as we find out in Exodus chapter 33, it is a lot easier to trust in God during the easy times.
At the beginning of the chapter, God tells Moses that because the Israelites are so stubborn, He is going to give them Canaan like He had promised, but He is not going to go up with them.
Obviously, this did not make people very happy. They were very upset, so Moses decided to set up the tabernacle. When he did that, God came down and spoke with him.
Exo 33:9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.
Exo 33:10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.
Exo 33:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
It was not difficult for the people to worship God at that point because it was obvious that He was right there. However, right before that, they were so stubborn that God was pretty upset with them. Their loyalty returned when they could see the direct benefit of having God literally right there.
I think that we can fall into this type of trap from time to time. We know that we need God all the time, but we sometimes think that we can do everything by ourselves. When that happens, we can get rather stubborn as well. However, when we can again see God’s direct influence in our lives, we realize that we were wrong and start worshiping again.
Of course, that is a happy ending. God will forgive us, and we always should come back even when we stray. However, as we become more mature, we shouldn’t wander in the beginning. It is kind of like the prodigal son. God will always welcome us back, but we should try to stay as close to Him as we can. It always works out better that way.