Record history, don’t forget miracles

Published 3:04 am Saturday, June 1, 2019

The mountaintop is ablaze with a raging fire, and thick black smoke surrounds it.

The morning has been filled with lightning strikes and roaring thunder, terrifying everyone nearby. As the mountain shakes violently, a prophet brings forth his trembling people to meet God.

A heavenly trumpet sounds, and the prophet calls out. The Lord answers with thunder, telling Moses to come up to the mountain. (Exodus 19:16-20)

It’s one of the most famous passages in Scripture—God will soon give Moses the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20:1-17)

But the people are frightened and back away from the mountain. “You speak to us,” they tell Moses, “and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”

Moses goes up into the thick darkness and God tells him how to instruct the Israelites. Say to them, “You have seen for yourselves that I have talked with you from heaven. You shall not make…gods of gold.” (Exodus 20:18-23)

God then gives Moses a book of laws covering everything from slaves to festivals, which Moses reads to the people. Moses takes his brother Aaron and more than 70 elders, and they worship God from afar. Beneath His Feet, they see a pavement of clear sapphire stone as they eat and drink before God. (Exodus 24:1-11)

But what about those stone tablets? Did I skip the part where God writes on them? No, that’s next.

Moses returns to the mountaintop where the Presence of God is still like a devouring fire. He remains there 40 days and nights. This is when God writes the Ten Commandments on the stone tablets. (Exodus 24:12-18)

It’s God who abruptly tells Moses to return to the Israelites, indicating that they’ve taken a golden calf to be their god.  Finding them eating, drinking, and celebrating, Moses is so angry that he throws the tablets down, breaking them in half.

“What did this people do to you?” he asks Aaron, clearly believing his brother is innocent.

“They’re evil,” Aaron says. “They gave [gold] to me. I threw it in the fire and out came the calf.” (Exodus 32:7-24)

So let’s see how it started. Here’s the passage:

“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, [they go] to Aaron saying, ‘Up, make us gods that shall go before us. As for this Moses…we don’t know what has become of him.”

Aaron tells them to get their gold, and he then “received the gold from their hands and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf.” (Exodus 32:4)

Aaron is a BFL—Big Fat Liar. And it gets worse.

The people say of the golden calf, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt”—the rewriting of history.

Surely Aaron protests. Remember, he’s the man who stood shoulder to shoulder with Moses, telling Pharaoh of the plagues of blood, frogs, gnats, flies, and so forth until there’s the death of every first-born. (Exodus 7-11)

No. Aaron builds an altar before the calf and proclaims the following day a feast. (Exodus 32:4-6)

Had their memories failed? Was this after 40 years of wandering?

No. It’s the third month after the Red Sea parts that God calls to Moses from Mount Sinai. Three days later the mountain is engulfed in fire as lighting crashes and thunder rolls. On this day, as we just saw, God speaks to the Hebrews. (Exodus 19:1-19)

But people forget.

I have a friend in Destin who loves the Lord, and God constantly answers her prayers, blessing her with miracle after miracle. 

“Write it down,” I say after each one.

“I’ll never forget!”

But she does—soon enough, she’s discouraged again. I recorded her on the last miracle, so I could play it back to her.

She’s not alone. It’s human nature to fear when things get tough and you can’t see a way out—whether it’s your finances, an illness, or a broken relationship. Like the Hebrews at Mount Sinai, you’ll forget the miracles of your life. Some will say, “God isn’t there”—rewriting history, forgetting the times He’s carried them.

Record history. Every time God helps you, write it down!

Copyright © 2019 R.A. Mathews  The Rev. Mathews is an attorney, faith columnist, and the author of “Reaching to God.” She can be reached at