“Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness… The Lord said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.’ So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and went up into the mountain of God. He said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we return to you. Aaron and Hur are with you.’
“Then Moses went up the mountain… The glory of the Lord… and the cloud covered it six days. On the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud… and was on the mountain forty days and forty nights…
“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves to Aaron and said, ‘Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses,.. we do not know what has become of him.’ So Aaron said, ‘Take off the rings of gold… and bring them to me…’ He received the gold and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it.” Exodus 24:9-10,12-18; 32:1-2,4-5
All God says, He will do. Moses believed this, and by faith ascended Mount Sinai and waited in the cloud with what we imagine was hushed anticipation. His glimpse of God’s indescribable glory was enough to captivate his soul for all God would present in His way and time.
But not so for Aaron. He’d witnessed the same splendor of the clear-as-heaven sapphire under God’s feet, but restless flesh overshadowed its radiance. He’d heard the instructions, but impatience and whining swallowed his will to obey. Rather than doing his assigned job, he succumbed to the rabble, elevating restless complaint over reverence for the Almighty who’d faithfully delivered and provided for them.
Moses spent forty days unlike man ever would, humbled in the divine presence of the LORD who spoke holy words and supernaturally engraved His law on stone tablets. Aaron spent his time pacing and restless at crowd speak, and took to tooling himself a heathen idol per his untamed impulses. Moses experienced an ecstasy of communion that changed him forever and marked him God’s friend and servant, but Aaron an agony of judgment and shame, and a strain of willful rebellion that would be detrimental for generations. (Exodus 32:7-10,16,19-21,35; 33:11; Deuteronomy 34:5; 1 Samuel 2:12-17,27-34)
Wherever the Lord has me waiting, what attitude toward His word determines my mindset and actions? Do I chafe restlessly at perceived delays, or still myself to listen more closely for His whisper, believing He is never late? Would I choose the ecstasy of knowing Him better while waiting, than the agony of missing out on what I’ll never know? (1 Kings 19:11-12)
Father, attune my ears to Your voice, and my heart to Your holy time table. May I daily tarry, for as long as You determine, in trusting, joyful expectancy, like a watchman waits for the morning. (Psalm 27:14; 130:6)