Sunday service, Dr A van Eeden, 04 Dec 2016
And Moses said to Aaron, What did the people do to you that you let this great sin come on them?
A Christian can slide into a terrible state. There are danger signs that we can take note of to prevent us from sliding into that state. God’s Word says that everything that was written was written for us to learn from.
Moses led the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, slavery, to the promised land. But the way went through the wilderness. Then came the time that God wanted to communicate the ten commandments, His heart, to them. God called Moses up the mountain, where He spoke to Moses for approximately 40 days. Moses’ face was shining in the presence of God, he was blessed and encouraged. He was full of joy for God’s law! Until God spoke to Moses and told him that he had to go back quickly down the mountain to the Israelites, because things had gone terribly wrong. They had forsaken God. Moses rushed down the mountain, and his joy was squashed. As he came down to the camp, he saw the Israelites dancing around the golden calf, drinking and partying. He was so disappointed, that he took the two tablets with the ten commandments and dashed them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. CT Studd wrote that he was a man of God on fire, one man against three million dancing devils. He didn’t blink an eye. He was fearless. The fear of God was in his heart.
Worse, when he got down, he heard that his brother, Aaron, had made the golden calf for them! Moses asked him what these people did to him that he made them to sin.
Why did Aaron do this? He saw all God’s miracles in Egypt. He heard God speaking to them. How could he have changed so radically and made an idol? Maybe he wanted to be popular, or feared them? The fear of people and the fear of the world is a terrible thing in a Christian’s life.
If you don’t have the fear and love of God in your heart, you will be like Aaron. Moses called Aaron to translate for him. He was called by man, and he didn’t have the love for God in his heart. It’s the same with those who do not truly love God, they only hear laws. But those who love Him, because they’ve been forgiven much, will hear his encouragement to persevere from the same sermons. And they will live for that day, where they will see His face and hear His blessed words, “Well done good and faithful servant”. And you will have a love for the children of man, like Jesus who looked at the 5000, and had pity on them. They were as sheep without a shepherd. And he loved them with a godly love.
Moses also asked Aaron what the people did to him that he brought such a great sin upon them. That’s often the way sin works. Someone does something to you and you react in a carnal way. The worldly person is about what others do to him. The child of God with a broken heart is concerned about the evil that his / her actions brings on others. Don’t think of the evil done to you, but the evil that you did to others and to the church of God through your sin. Moses did not allow the people to do as they like because he had a Godly, Divine love for them.
In verse 25 we read, “and when Moses saw that the people were naked; for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies…”
This is how God saw it, not necessarily physically without clothes but no longer walking in the spirit, but acting in the flesh. Their shame was exposed. If you act in the flesh you are naked before God.
In verses 26-28 we read, “26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.
27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’”
28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.”
Why was Aaron not destroyed? We might find part of the answer in the following text:
Deut 9:20 “And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.”
Moses was a type of Christ, and he interceded before God for Aaron, that God would not destroy him, like Christ who intercedes for us before the Father. It also shows you what a blessing it is to have a child of God intercede and pray for you. Blessed is the person who has someone to pray with about the burdens he / she carries.
They could not wait 40 days without Moses and lost their faith. To be able to stay faithful and not lose your faith is not a small thing. Saul could not wait for Samuel and so lost the blessing. They were on the border of the promised land. They just needed a little more faith and patience. The Christian life can become boring, and that could be the reason a person loses his / her faith. If it happens to you, don’t get more depressed and take your own life, but go to God and confess your sin.
We read in Ex 33:3
Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.
God said that He will keep His promise but that He won’t be among them. Why? Because of all their sin that happened in the past? No. Because He sees what lies ahead, that they are a stiff necked people and that He will consume them if He should go with them. God cannot work with stiff-necked people.
That’s why you should continually deal with sin in your life; continually change as God wants you to change. There should not be any persistent sin in your life. Allow Him to change your character according to what He wants. Charles Spurgeon spoke on the importance of confessing your sin after having come to Christ. He also quoted the song:
“My sins, my sins, my Savior!
How sad on Thee they fall;
Seen through Thy gentle patience,
I tenfold feel them all;
I know they are forgiven,
But still, their pain to me
Is all the grief and anguish
They laid, my Lord, on Thee”
Do you realise the pain your sin causes God? God must be able to change your attitudes, your selfishness, otherwise He will become your enemy.
Hos 14:9 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
The same way of God that’s a blessing to the upright makes the transgressors to stumble.
There’s a story of an American man who spoke to an old African man who was a believer. He asked him, how can you be in Christ and He be in you. The old man looked at him and smiled, “sir it’s quite simple, if I put an iron in burning coals, you will see the iron heating up and glowing. The iron is in the coals but the coals are in the iron”. This is how it is if we walk humbly with God and allow Him to change us.
In the olden days when buckets were still made from wood, they would put planks in a circle to form a bucket, and put more planks at the bottom. But they had to fit perfectly tight, otherwise it would leak. An old man who made these buckets explained that the church of Christ is like these wooden buckets. It’s not made from one piece of wood, but from many pieces of wood. But they must be tight without a space between them. If we are one with God we will be one with each other. The most important planks are the ones right at the bottom of the bucket.
Maybe you sometimes feel that you’re at the bottom, just of no importance. It’s even more important for you to stay close to Christ than for the others. If there’s a small gap, caused by a little stick or stone, the water will leak out. What are these little sticks or stones? It’s the quarrels and hard words we speak to each other, or just a little bit of dirty money. It won’t just hurt you, but the whole church will be hurt by it. And the water will run out and many will stumble and fall because of the disunity between you and a brother. It might also be a proud and unforgiving spirit.
If you’re convicted today, it’s not to condemn you, but to lead you to godly remorse which leads to repentance.
Oswald Chambers said that to us very often our destination is the most important. But in God’s eyes how we get there is more important than actually getting there. How you get to heaven one day is more important to God than just getting to heaven.
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