“Lost in Transition”
The journey of Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land was a dramatic period of transition from slavery to freedom. It was also a period of transition from certainty to uncertainty.
Where are we going to get water? Where are we going to get our daily bread?
This was also a period of transition in their faith too: from the worship of Yahweh to a worship of a golden calf. The God who led them out of Egypt was not visible or tangible. On the other hand, the gods of the Canaanites were visible, right there in front of your eyes.
Life is a series of transition from one thing to another, and often times we feel lost when we transition from happiness to sadness. There is anxiety when we transition from fulfillment to loss, from celebration to grief. Fear can overcome us when we transition from abundance to scarcity, from success to failure, or from life to death: what am I going to do? How am I going to live?
When we experience loss or a sense of loss in the transition of life, we are tempted to seek security and certainty in a golden calf, a “god” that is tangible. However, we need to be careful not to latch onto a false security that will disappear within no time only to leave us with a sense of emptiness. Aristotle referred to “God” as the “Unmoved Mover” the primary “mover” or force of all the motion in the universe. What would it be like for the mortals to hold on to the Unmoved Mover and find security?
Tezenlo Thong, Pastor
Simpson United Methodist Church
32:1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, 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.”
32:2 Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”
32:3 So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron.
32:4 He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
32:5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the LORD.”
32:6 They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.
32:7 The LORD said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely;
32:8 they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'”
32:9 The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are.
32:10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.”
32:11 But Moses implored the LORD his God, and said, “O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
32:12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people.
32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'”
32:14 And the LORD changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.