Exodus 32-33

When God calls us to serve in ministry, he also gives us the freedom to decline. We started this sermon series with Moses’ repeated rejection to God’s call. God gave Moses a clear mission: to lead the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land, Moses encountered a lot of set-backs. Apparently, Moses’ mission failed miserably as the people wandered in the wilderness for an extended period of time, while Moses himself never made it to the Promised Land out of his own disobedience. 

Exodus 32-33 records the quintessential example of rebellion by the Israelites, they worshiped a golden calf. God decided not to go up among them, but sent an angel to lead them instead. Moses then had a conversation with God which reveals Moses’ transformation after he accepted God’s call to serve. 

In Exodus 33:11-23, Moses petitioned God three times. The first two petitions were essentially requesting God to go up with him and the people. God quickly complied, which indicated that Moses knew the heart of God, and was able to request for things that God was ready to grant. Moses’ last request was to see God’s glory. This last petition seems to be unnecessary in the context, because God already agreed to go with Moses and the Israelites. Also, Moses obviously had witnessed God’s glory in the past, why was he asking God to show him the glory now? This petition actually showed that Moses wanted to know God. Even though there were more practical things Moses could ask of God to accomplish his call, Moses no longer just wanted to have things from God, Moses wanted more of God in his life. God responded by giving a remarkable revelation of himself in Exodus 34:6-7, which is one of the most complete revelation of God in the Bible so far.

It took time for Moses to understand that God’s calling is ultimately God’s blessing for him. After Moses accepted God’s call, Moses himself was transformed, he grew in stature, he became more compassionate towards his people, and most importantly he developed a special relationship with God, one that God talked to him as if a man talks to his friend.  

We tend to think that God’s call to serve is giving us another thing to do. However, God’s calling is really an invitation to himself. When we accept the call from God, we are on a journey to discover the goodness of God.