Humans can live without food much longer than without water, but to survive 40 days without water is inconceivable apart from a miracle. When Moses failed to return from Mt. Sinai the nation naturally assumed he had died, either from thirst or possibly hed been burned to death by the fire which still could be seen on the mountains peak (24:17,18). Considering themselves leaderless they turned to Aaron who had been left in charge and demanded he make an idol. They were unnerved by this invisible God. They wanted something they could see. Its hard to explain why they would so flagrantly overturn a covenant they had made only weeks earlier. And for Aaron to enable their rebellion by carving the image of an Egyptian god is a level of cowardice on his part that is simply shocking. Without a doubt he feared for his life as he faced the mob. To have refused may have meant he would have been beaten or executed, but his cooperation made it sadly evident he had no intention of dying for his faith.
In todays lesson well discover the similarities between Israel waiting for Moses to return and believers today waiting for Jesus to return. Surprisingly we can face some of the same temptations they did. So well listen to biblical advice that will help us wait without losing hope.
A. Israel was waiting for Moses to return.
1. They stopped expecting accountability.
- They served God out of fear not love
2. They released themselves from the demands of the Ten Commandments.
- They removed offensive aspects of His holiness
- They redefined God (Osiris is Yahweh)
- They focused on an image not the Person
- They were released from demands of sexual purity
3. They found a leader who would pretend nothing had changed.
- v 5 Tomorrow shall be a feast to Yahweh. So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings
- Syncretism: blending together two conflicting beliefs
- Moses response: vs 19-21
B. The Church is waiting for Jesus to return. When this hope dies in us we repeat the same pattern:
1. We stop expecting accountability.
2. We release ourselves from the demands of the Ten Commandments.
3. We find leaders who pretend nothing has changed.
- Hes never coming back, at least not in my lifetime
- Titus 2:11-13
C. How do we wait without losing hope?
1. Keep perspective: His return is delayed, not canceled.
- The Father has reasons He has delayed the Sons return (Ac 1:7; Mt 24:36; Mk 13:28-37)
- What are His reasons? 2Pt 3:1-15
- Well all see Him in our lifetime. (2Co 5:8
to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord; Php 1:21-23)
2. Plan for a long wait: each of us has the responsibility to keep faith burning in our heart until we see Him face to face.
- Matthew 24:36-51 (v 48).
- Matthew 25:1-13 (v 5) Now while the bridegroom was delaying
- 1 Thessalonians 5:6
so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober
3. Use the time we have well: by delaying His return we are given more time to bring people to Christ
- John 9:4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day, night is coming when no one can work
4. Remember your appointment: It doesnt matter whether or not He physically arrives in our lifetime. We will all still be held accountable.
- 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad
- 2 Corinthians 7:1
- 1Jn 3:3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
- Revelation 2:14, 20; 3:4
1) If you knew for certain Jesus would return tomorrow, what steps would you take to prepare for that moment?
2) What are some of the practical steps youve learned to keep faith burning brightly in your heart? (Mt 25:1-13)