I’m an impatient fixer. When I see a problem, I want to fix it – right away. This shows up in my relationship with God: I know he can fix anything and he could fix it right away so I grow impatient with him: why won’t he do something? Why won’t he do it now?
Israel faces a similar situation in Exodus. Moses has gone up Mt. Sinai into God’s presence to receive the terms of the covenant. “Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights” (Exodus 24:18). That’s a long time!
The people were feeling vulnerable and impatient. So they decided to fix the problem: “When the people saw that Moses was so long coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us.’” (Exodus 32:1). I’ve often thought the same way: I’m waiting for God. He’s not ‘showing up.’ We have to do something!
This results in judgment and death. It threatens their relationship with God.
Yet, because the Lord is “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin” (Exodus 34:7-8), he extends another invitation to enter into covenant relationship with him.
So, Moses goes up the mountain again. He’s up there for forty days and forty nights again. This time, the children of Israel wait patiently. When Moses comes down the mountain with the terms of the covenant, his face glows – he reflects God’s glory!
When I take matters into my own hands, it leads to idolatry, destruction, and death. When I wait on/in/for the Lord, it always results in his glory being reflected in our world. What are you waiting on the Lord for? Be patient and wait! Forty days (or months. Or years) can seem like a long time. But the result will be glorious!