When Moses returned from the mountain and shared what God had told him, the people’s response was unambiguous: “We will do all that the Lord has spoken” (v. 8). We aren’t given much else to evaluate this response, but we would have to believe it came from a sincere heart, a genuine desire to obey God. However, we also know it didn’t last. As we continue through Exodus, we read more about the law God gave to the people through Moses, and then we come across Exodus 32, where the people who pledged obedience to God disobeyed Him by having Aaron form the golden calf. Their words of obedience quickly dissolved into acts of defiance.
As we have seen so often, we have to be careful not to read Exodus from a distance. If we do, we miss how practical this book is for us. So when we read of the Israelites pledging obedience only to falter soon after, we need to consider why they did and see how we are prone to do the same.
Israel declared they would obey God at the foot of the mountain where God was meeting with Moses, but their obedience was tested when God seemed distant, or perhaps even gone. Our challenge is the same. Our obedience is tested in the crucible of daily life, when God is not as apparent to us either. It is in these moments that the strength of our faith will be revealed, both to ourselves and to the watching world around us.
When is it most difficult for you to maintain faith and obedience to God? Why?