Summary: Moses dramatically changed at one point of his life. How and why did it happen?
OPENING: Arthur Tonne tells of an overnight visitor to the White House during the Coolidge administration. Calvin Coolidge was not one of the warmest people to be around - he was well known for his brevity and taciturn nature. Seated at breakfast with President, the visitor determined to attempt to be as "invisible" as possible by imitating everything the President did and thus avoiding any possible digressions of etiquette. All went well, until Coolidge began to catch on. Reaching for his coffee, the President poured some of it into his saucer... the visitor followed suit. Then Coolidge reached for the cream and poured a generous amount into the saucer... the visitor did the same. Then Coolidge bent down and placed the saucer on the floor for his cat.
APPLICATION: There is a difference between those who merely get by - who copy, imitate, and fake it - AND those who are "real" or authentic about what they believe and do.
I. Moses is an example of someone who "got real"
Remember Cecile B. DeMille’s 10 Commandments?
Do you recall HOW he changed Charlton Heston’s look to show this "God’s glory?" Heston’s hair became white and face became wiser and more mature.
By today’s standards of film wizardry it looks a little odd, but it was still effective in communicating what God did in Moses’ life.
Now think hard again - in the movie - WHEN did Heston undergo this change? Do you remember?
It was when he met God at the burning bush.
But that’s not what the Bible tells us. It didn’t happen at the bush... Moses took on "God’s glory" after the 2nd giving of the law - after he trekked up the mountain a 2nd time to receive a copy of God’s commandments to replace the ones he broke earlier.
This change took place at the 2nd giving of the law, not the first. Why would Moses change now?
I believe the difference took place because Moses had changed from an attitude of "getting by" to one of "getting real".
Consider: at the Burning bush, Moses was a reluctant emissary. When he stood before Pharaoh, he was following orders. As he led the people in the first days of their desert trip Moses was always asking "what am I to do with these people?" Up this point, this whole thing wasn’t his idea. It was God’s.
ILLUS: It’s common knowledge that kids from Christian homes, who go off to college, often lose their faith. At college, they find themselves in an entirely new world that challenges many of the standards they had grown up with - and their faith falters. Why would that happen? Frankly, it’s often because the faith they lose wasn’t theirs. It was their parent’s faith. These children had obediently gone along with the morals and believes that ruled their home while they were at home. But once they moved away, since the faith wasn’t theirs to begin with they lose it. In order to survive, they need to change from the faith of their fathers (and mothers) to a faith of their own.
For Moses, something like that had taken place. He changed in his faith and this change took place just before his 2nd time up the Mountain. Exodus 32:19-20 tells us when that change took place:
"When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.
And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. He said to Aaron, ’What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?’" (Ex. 32:19-21)
No one told Moses to smash the tablets. No one told him to melt down the idol and grind it to powder. No one told him to spread it’s powder on the drinking water and force the people to drink it. This was all Moses’ idea.
And then Moses turns on Aaron. Up until this time Aaron had been Moses’ "mouthpiece." Ever since the burning bush, Aaron had been Moses’ support in his faith. But, no longer. Moses had learned he couldn’t lean on Aaron’s faith... and for the first time in their relationship, Moses rebuked his older brother and put him in his place.
After this confrontation, we see Moses really begin to care for the people. Exodus 32:11-12/ 31-32 tells us of Moses’ intercessory prayer and his offer to substitute himself for the people to avert God’s anger.
II. This is such a PIVOTAL event in Moses’ life and God uses it as example for us.
II Corinthian 3:12-18 tells us: