Exodus 30-32

nascent church Add comments

I wonder about God’s conversation with Moses in chapter 32. This is one of those moments in which my preconception about God seems to be in conflict with the God I am reading about. Which is right?

That God can be pleaded with isn’t without other examples. Did he forget though? I don’t think so. Maybe it’s more the fact that in his burning anger he was willing to again start over. He could have fulfilled the promise through Moses, since Moses was within the family of Abraham too.

What seems to be clear is that God was convinced to change his mind. That is remarkable. And I think it bears a great deal on the topic of prayer. Moses doesn’t excuse the actions, but instead he argues about God’s own promises. He presents God with God. Is this a reminder because God forgot? I doubt God forgot it, but maybe God doesn’t mind his faithfulness being reflected back to him. He wants us to participate, and participate in ways that show we really do know him.

That’s the trouble with the calf. It’s meant to be a god, only God’s image is not in the calf. It’s a false image. It’s a lie. It is the projection of the people’s thoughts about gods, not God’s revelation. By creating this idol they are showing themselves to be ignorant, and misguided. God wants a relationship. He wants to be known. He first made humanity in his image, but they broke that reflection. Now he called a people to be his priests, but here they reflect a lie. God uses humanity to be a reflection, representatives, images of him in this world, but they don’t get it.

Moses does. Moses gets God. Moses knows God so much he can argue his own traits back at him. And this knowledge, this example of image and reflection, brings transformation to the situation. Those who were facing annihilation got significantly less than they deserve.

On a different note, earlier in chapter 31 there is an extraordinary couple of verses. Did you notice them? Here they are:
“Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts- to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.”

What makes these extraordinary? This is the first time we are specifically told the Spirit of God came down on anyone. God himself announces it. And for what did the Spirit fill them? To do artistic things. The Spirit came upon Bezalel and Oholiab so they too could be creators, images of God’s creative power in building the Tabernacle.

They are the first charismatics, and it’s expressed in craftsmanship.

Comments are closed.