Sunday, January 09, 2005

Sermon Idea Number - 6 -

Suggested Titles:

Moving forward without God
How to make a god
Gold Stew

Passage:

Exodus 32

Passage Overview – some highlights:

Probably a familiar passage, the Israelites worshiping the Golden Calf. But note in our framework of stories, how quickly and easy it is for the people to begin to NOT reflect the kind of kingdom and nation God wants them to be. Note how when a few days pass without guidance, they fall away. The issue of daily faithfulness will become more important as we continue in our sermon series.

Notice as well that the people quickly become a worshipping community – they want gods and Moses hears them singing, but they quickly worship the wrong thing. And the text suggests they do this because they fear the future that they want to move toward. We need to be reminded from this text as we move forward to be a worshiping community as we move toward what Gods wants for us and not what we want for ourselves.

Important Specific Concepts:

I use the title “Gold Stew” because of the reference in 32:20. It’s unlikely they drank the gold, of course, since it would have sunk in the water.

Notice that the people’s motivation in this passage is not “sinful” in a sense that they “want” to leave God directly, as much as it is rooted in their fear of their future. Verse 1 tells us they want someone to “go before us” and they “don’t know” what to expect. In that sense, this passage isn’t so much for “idolators” as it is for all of us when we fear our own future and when we “don’t know” what to do.

But, notice what Moses sees when he comes down the mountain, not a worshipping community praising God but people “running wild” (verse 25). It may be a little bit of a theological jump, but sometimes we tend to “run wild” with our own agendas, our own thing, our errands or commitments, but the call for this community is not to run wild with their own agenda into the future, but to worship God and trust God with their future. Even when Moses appears to have left them, and God, neither have. In fact, there might be room to suggest, that not only are we called to not “run wild” like the people, but like Moses we need to “go up the mountain” at times to be with God. (Jesus did this after the people pushed in on him!)

There is some important theology in this passage on the power of Moses prayer and intercession. He cries to God and God listens to him and God “relents.”

Ideas for Illustrations:

Have you ever had plans for a kids classroom or a kids party – and when the kids got there they took over and ran wild?

Describe a time in your own life when you “went up the mountain” with God and you found clarity.

Have you ever felt like you ran, ran, ran all day – and it still felt chaotic?

Ideas for Wrapping Up - Response - Call:

How might we look to what is “before us” without fear if we take God with us?

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