At the bottom of the Mount Sinai, the recently freed Israelites waited for their leader to descend. They had just arrived after experiencing the most amazing displays of God’s power and provision for them. They had seen the Red Sea split and Pharaoh’s army washed up on the shore, they had seen bread fall from heaven, water pour from a rock, and enemies defeated simply by the raising of Moses’ hands. And yet their journey had been characterized by a perpetual grumbling against the very God that had delivered them and particularly against the man that God had provided to lead them; namely, Moses. They had never really trusted him, even going so far as to accuse him of trying to kill them, and this moment was no different. At the bottom of the mountain they again began to grumble amongst themselves wondering why “this Moses” had been so long up on top. “Who needs him anyway,” they thought. And so they hatched a plan to have their own divine encounter right where they were. Under Aaron’s leadership they formed the golden calf and began to worship the "God that had led them out of Egypt," but on their own terms and according to their imaginationsThey danced and partied and must have felt quite satisfied that they were able to deal with God apart from Moses, their mediator with God.
Little did they know however, that on the top of that mountain, where God had ordered Moses, as the people’s representative, to meet with Him, their creator was fuming in Holy anger, preparing to destroy them. The Almighty God announced to Moses that he was going to wipe them off the face of the Earth and start over with Moses. How easy it would have been for Moses quietly to assent and finally be rid of these thorns in his side. But rather than turning his back on his stiff necked brothers, he pled their case before God. Moses stood on the top of that mountain and made use of the tremendous privilege he had to plead for their deliverance. Most astonishingly, he even offered his life in exchange for theirs. If only the people could see, as they ground their teeth at the very thought of him, that Moses was attempting to lay his life down to spare them from a judgement they didn't even know was coming. In the end, God would not accept Moses’ offer. Moses was not a fair trade to satisfy the Holy wrath of God, but God did relent of the immediate judgement in response to his intercession. Moses had saved his people temporarily from God’s wrath, but In order to save them once and for all it was going to take a greater sacrificial substitute; one who like him would be despised by the very people he was saving. Little did those who crucified Jesus know that he was, at that very instant, interceding for them and offering himself in their place to spare them from God’s terrible wrath. Join us tonight as we consider the shadow of Christ in the work of Moses. We will also be looking at Christ our Immanuel in the image of the tabernacle, and Christ our atoning sacrifice in the book of Leviticus.