Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 33:1-3 (NIV)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”
Exodus 33:1-3 (MSG)
God said to Moses: “Now go. Get on your way from here, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt. Head for the land which I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angel ahead of you and I’ll drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. It’s a land flowing with milk and honey. But I won’t be with you in person—you’re such a stubborn, hard-headed people!—lest I destroy you on the journey.”
“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Depart, go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought from the land of Egypt, to the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel), saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ I will send an Angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Go up to a land [of abundance] [a]flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, because you are a stiff-necked (stubborn, rebellious) people, and I might destroy you on the way.” -AMPLIFIED
Sin is a separator between God and man. It creates barriers between us and it is not because God did anything differently; it is because man chose to distance himself from God. Just as Adam and Eve chose to do what they wanted, instead of what God directed; they too distanced themselves from God.
In this instance we see the Israelites distancing themselves from God by sinning. They built and worshiped an idol. Doing exactly what God told them “NOT” to do. They not only disobey, but they allowed themselves to sink so low that they were running around naked and completely out of control of themselves personally.
Remember, there are always consequences to sin. The consequence in this instance were multiple: Moses had the Levites (under the direction of God) go through the camp and kill those who were refusing to stop the orgy that they were taking part in, the Lord struck the people with a plague (last verse of chapter 32), and the Lord informed the people that He was removing His presence from them because they were a stiff-necked people.
Oh how we people struggle with the sins of stubbornness and waywardness. We insist on having our way and doing things our own way; sadly, when we do so we are distancing ourselves from God. If only we would learn to listen and obey (to the letter) the voice of God.
By being stubborn, stiff-necked and hard-headed the people were refusing to be pliable in the hands of God. They had become self-seeking; not God-pleasing people. This trend was carried on; for in Judges 2:19 we find these words, “But when the judge died, they turned back and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, in following and serving other gods, and bowing down to them. They did not [a]abandon their practices or their stubborn ways.” (AMP)
God tells us though that if we will but humble ourselves, call on His name, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways He will forgive us and heal our land. “Then my people, who are called by my name, will be sorry for what they have done. They will pray and obey me and stop their evil ways. If they do, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14 (ICB)
The Apostle John reminds us that we need to confess our sins and God will forgive them. We must be sincere in admitting that we were wrong though and we must turn away from continuing in that sin. “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose].” -1 John 1:9 (AMP)
Lord, forgive me for the stubbornness and waywardness in my life. I know that insisting on doing things my way is selfish, wrong and not the way that you desire for me to be. Forgive me, please. Help me to instead listen to your leading and direction. I do not ever want to put a barrier between me and you. Help me to be obedient to your bidding; doing it quickly and completely. Please, do not ever remove your presence from my life. I love you, Lord and I need you every moment of every day.