The whole Bible, including this passage, tells us only Jesus can deliver us from the danger we are in, so we must turn to him.
I. See Imperfectly (vv. 1-5)
Idolatry causes us to see imperfectly. We can make tragically flawed conclusions based on our faulty and limited perspective. Therefore, we must trust that Jesus tells us what is accurate about life and our world even if it doesn’t make sense to us at the time.
II. Act Impatiently (vv. 6, 21-25)
When God does not act according to our schedule, the way we “see” things should unfold, we act impatiently.
III. Suffer Eternally (vv. 7-20, 25-29)
- Judgment: When God makes Moses aware of the Israelites’ rebellion, he refers to them with the same derision they referred to Moses, “this people” (9). The Lord was furious with his people to the point he threatened to annihilate them and recreate a covenant people through Moses (10).
- Intercession: Where did Moses learn to pray the way he does in this passage? From the same Lord he learned righteous anger. By the Spirit, he was able to look into the New Testament and by faith love Christ more than his own welfare. Of course this is what Jesus did for us. Moses and Jesus show us that battling idolatry will involve our bearing the sins of those around us. Anger does not defeat idolatry, stepping into the fray, interceding with passion, and sacrificially receiving blows from the idolaters as we strive to spare them from God’s wrath is our highest honor.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Can you think of a situation recently wherein retrospect, your limited vision caused you to form incorrect conclusions about God and reality?
- Can you think of an example where you have acted impatiently, because things did not seem to be going as you thought they should?
- What does this passage teach you about the way our limited vision and impatience are connected with idolatry? What about the judgment we deserve for idolatry?
- What does this passage teach you about the way Jesus took the judgment we deserve for idolatry? How does Jesus’ love for you motivate you to trust God when your vision is limited and wait for God’s timing when things are not going according to your vision?