Psalm 105, Exodus 33:1–6
Have you ever known people that no matter how much you might respect, like, or even love them, that spending a large amount of time with them would result in personal injury? It could be a parent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling. In families, a lot of pain is stored and maintained, meaning that family gathers while good on many levels, can be stressful or even hurtful. If your family gatherings do not have this, give praise to God and all the family members who have made sure to pass on such a blessed and loving legacy. Truth be told, however, most families are not so blessed. Moses’ extended family was a trial for Moses, but not just Moses.
God had relational limits. Think on that for a moment. There is a limit. The stubborn Israelites wouldn’t make it, for they kept testing God. And, perhaps, that is the point. When someone repeatedly rebels against God, there is a limit. Yet, there is something hidden in plain sight. God says that God will not go with them, for they would end up not making it. It was not that God did not love them, nor that they were no longer the people he called. They had put a limit on their relationship with God. God accepted that. It could be more for Moses’ information than anything else. Moses wanted God right there. His relationship with God was good. “Let’s go together!” God knew that the Israelites just wouldn’t be able to do it.
One of the beauties of Scripture is its honesty. God’s chosen people really did not have the best relationship with God. There wasn’t a cover-up. Let’s see: they struggled mightily with God; they rebelled directly against God; they opposed his chosen leaders; they lifted up other gods over God; they killed God’s prophets; they didn’t believe God a lot. Despite that, they faithfully passed on God’s word from generation to generation. While still struggling with God, they still believed that God was faithful. They recognized the gap between themselves and God…and trusted God. That is a mighty legacy to pass on.
1) Sometimes when we tell a story, it’s not flattering to ourselves. Can you think of a story someone shared that delivered a good message but put them in a bad light?
2) Often we give people either too much, or too little leeway in our relationship with them. Can you think of a relationship you have like that? What can you do to balance that out in a God-honoring way?
3) Pain (emotional and physical) and sacrifice (material and otherwise) are often part of a story of significance. Can you think of something like that which is part of your story?