As I continue reading through the Bible this year using the F260 Plan, this chapter grabbed my attention not so much by what it said but by what it did not say.
Last week I commented on an incredible encounter from Exodus 24 that the leaders of Israel had in the very presence of God. This was just before Moses and Joshua ascended Mt Sinai to receive the Tablets of Stone. Here we are in Exodus 32, less than 40 days after the most spiritual experience these guys have ever had, where literally they saw God, and I’m wondering why there is no mention of any of these guys other than Aaron.
So here’s the deal. Moses has been gone for a while. The people are getting antsy and very impatient and wondering what their next move will be. God has miraculously brought them out of Egypt but now they seem to be going nowhere fast. So they have given up on Yahweh and are ready to move on to a “god” that they can actually see who will lead them forward from here. Enter the “Golden Calf.” This is what they came up with that supposedly will solve all their problems and help them feel good about themselves as a nation again. Forget God. Forget Moses. Give us a god of our choosing that we actually have some control over.
Again my question is this: Where are the 40+ leaders who just saw the God of Israel. Why are they not speaking up and calming the people’s fears? Why are they not encouraging the Israelites to be patient. Why are they not giving testimony after testimony after testimony of what they saw and how they KNOW that the Lord has not forgotten about them? Why are the leaders not leading?
John Piper says this about spiritual leadership…
All genuine leadership begins in a sense of desperation; knowledge that we are helpless sinners in need of a great savior. That moves us to listen to God in his Word and cry out to him for help and for insight in prayer. That leads us to trust in God and to hope in his great and precious promises. This frees us for a life of love and service which, in the end, causes people to see and give glory to our Father in heaven.
I do not know why the leaders of Israel did not step up and give godly leadership in the midst of this crisis. I do not know why Aaron seemed to cave in to the pleadings of the people. I do know that great leaders arise in times of great difficulty. Our nation is facing some very difficult days. I am quite afraid that we will not have a leader who can lead us through the crises we are going to face – probably sooner than later. Our churches are going to face some difficult days as well. My prayer is that we who are considered leaders are “seeking the face of God” now so that when the time comes we can lead God’s people to see the face of God even in the midst of hardship and suffering and adversity.