Day One: Wait here … for FORTY DAYS?

Exodus 24:12-18 & 32:1 (NIV) – The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”

Then Moses set out with Joshua his aide, and Moses went up on the mountain of God. He said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you, and anyone involved in a dispute can go to them.”

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

Exodus chapters 19-31 is a whirlwind sequence of God’s covenant pledge and the people’s response. In the middle of it all in 24:14, Moses gives a simple command: “Wait here for us until we come back to you.” However, after Moses’ absence of forty days and forty nights, there is a quick and unexpected attitude reversal among the people in 32:1.

“The longer the prophet was away, the more impatient the Israelites became. They started having doubts – not just about Moses, but also about God. Their doubts became murmurs, and their murmurs became complaints, until finally they decided to take matters into their own hands. They went to Aaron, who was second-in-command [like an overwhelmed substitute teacher! – NB] and said they wanted to make a few changes in their worship service. They told him to get busy making them a new deity. So Aaron very obediently made the only kind of god he knew how to make: a golden idol fashioned in the shape of a young bull.” [Ryken, Philip G. Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory]

Waiting can be excruciating when we are focused on our own plans. But the Bible tells us in Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Today, how are you waiting? Let’s wait for the Lord in prayer and worship, because the Bible promises that he is on the way! Let’s worship to “Waiting Here for You performed by Christy Nockels.

– NB