Read: Exodus 32:1 – 33:6
When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.” Exodus 32:17
There’s so much that’s interesting in this text. And by interesting, I mean crazy. And by crazy I mean, I’m going to just keep walking and pretend I’m not seeing you begging Aaron to make you a golden calf so you can bow down to it. I don’t know, it’s just not how I roll.
But in every story there’s a little bit of truth mixed up with the crazy. Moses was up on the mountain getting instructions from the LORD, Joshua was with him, and the Israelites were told to wait in the camp. So they waited. And they waited. And they waited. And then they got tired of waiting and decided they simply would not wait a moment longer. They took matters into their own hands because hey – Moses wasn’t here to push this ball down the field so someone had to do it. They begged, Aaron gave in, and before anyone could say “this isn’t going to end well”, the whole of Israel was making fools of themselves bowing down to a golden calf and partying and carrying on in such a way that verse 25 says they became a laughingstock of their enemies.
- Isn’t it interesting how Moses responds here. He’s ticked. But not nearly as ticked as God. God is ready to destroy the whole nation and start over again with Moses. But Moses pleads with God on behalf of the people. The same people that had kicked him to the curb while he was on the mountain. He begs God to have mercy on them and God relents. The nation is saved. Today, we, as Christians, have the opportunity to plead for God’s mercy on behalf of our nation. In the midst of a culture of death, we have to pray for the life of Christ to rise up and outshine the darkness.
- As Moses and Joshua came down from the mountain Joshua says he hears the “sound of war in the camp”. Joshua was a soldier so maybe it makes sense that he heard the sounds of battle instead of partying and revelry. But maybe Joshua was hearing those sounds through the lens of his heart. Maybe what he was hearing was the sound of the spiritual battle going on for the soul of his nation. Like Joshua, we’re all leaders. We may not lead thousands, but we all lead someone. And each someone is fighting a spiritual battle. They may look like they’re in the middle of a big party, they may talk about and even brag about their exploits, but if you listen through the lens of your heart, what you hear is the “sound of war in the camp.” And as Christians, this is our opportunity to pray, show compassion, and bring a little bit of Heaven to the dark and scary and lonely places.
Our world is a hot mess right now. Idols everywhere. As we look around at the partying and revelry, let’s remember to have the attitude of Moses – mercy and compassion, and the spiritual ears of Joshua to recognize the sound of a spiritual battle.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your mercy and compassion. We recognize there is a spiritual battle going on for the heart of our nation, as well as for the hearts of the people we see every day. Please help us to have the courage to bring Heaven to those places that are mired in hell. Thank you that Christ, who lives in us, is greater than he who lives in the world. You alone are God. It’s in the powerful name of Jesus that I pray, amen.