Moses is on Mount Sinai with God, getting a divine download for a whole new way to worship and dwell with Him. It’s a radical model designed to connect a holy God with a far-from-holy people. God’s whole-hearted desire is to dwell with His people—unfortunately, it’s a lop-sided relationship.

While Moses is scribing blueprints, his second-in-command is carving a golden calf and declaring a feast day. Israel, having lost hope in Moses’ return, rallies to the party.

Exodus 32:6 – “…the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”

While on the mountain, God and Moses hear the revelry. God’s response is basically, “Moses, go get your people and lead them into the Promised Land, because if I show up, I’m gonna wipe ‘em out.”

We can relate to God’s frustration, but we also realize and expect that killing off the revelers is a little out of character. Even in His disappointment and anger, God was more than willing to fulfill His promise to bless His people. However, He could not dwell with them in their corruption; His purity and holiness would take them out.

Exodus 33:3 – “Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey, for I will not go up in your midst, because you are a stiff-necked people, and I might destroy you on the way.”

It is the mercy of God to send them with an angel and establish His promise to them. God is so good that He keeps His promises—even when we take Him for granted and misplace our passion. Israel would receive God’s promise, but it wasn’t God’s primary plan. God’s true desire is to love us and be loved in return, to be in close relationship.

Moses won’t settle for the goodies without God.

Exodus 33:15 – “Then he [Moses] said to Him, ‘If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here.’”

Moses won’t settle for good. He wants Goodness Himself. God’s kindness, mercy and blessings are good, but His person is best. If you’ve stumbled, get back up and get right with God. If you’ve been distracted from passionate pursuit, get back on track. You have a God who is passionately pursuing you. Don’t settle for less.


Gwen Gibson serves as the Pastor for the HOPE CENTER—the place at HRock where we encourage and offer hope for those struggling through the tough places of life. It is her joy to help others discover the freedom they long for and know how much they are loved by God.

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