Moses, the Mountain, and a Mass of Email
Moses stands as a gleaming example in the dark storms of modern self-aggrandizement, reminding us that to sit at the feet of the Lord—even when spiritual tragedy surrounds us—is good and proper. It is a reminder that the spiritual disasters around us are not, properly speaking, our problem. The battle belongs to the Lord. He may send us down the mountain to be a spiritual leader in critical times (Exodus 32:7), but never before filling us with His grace, peace, and Word. The events or tasks causing that tension in your chest and anxiety in your heart cannot be solved by you. If those things are to be done well, they must be according to the Lord’s plan.
Christians and non-Christians alike constantly talk about the need for “self-care” these days. I wonder if farmers, working 80 hours a week in 1950s America, thought about “self-care.” That is a rhetorical question. Of course, they did not. The reason, I suspect, is not that hard-working farmers did not need to take care of themselves. Instead, we talk about it today because of new demands in how we live.
We talk so much about it (there are books, YouTube videos, and even people dedicated to this topic), and people of yesteryear did not because times have changed for us. We are in a new place that makes divine demands on all people. Society expects us to be “on” all the time. We must respond to instant messages instantly. We must be aware of tragedy in our city, state, nation, and world. We must keep up with the news, the latest book, the newest post, the latest show, the best restaurant, and what everyone we know is thinking as they stream it live onto social media.
In other words, society expected 1950s farmers to grow crops. Today, on the other hand, society expects us to be God. We have the world’s information in our pockets—we must be omniscient. We can respond to everything everywhere—we must be omnipresent. We have incredible technology that can solve “all” our problems—we must be omnipotent. For an example of the latter point, consider a billboard I recently saw hawking services to people with cancer: “Take control of your cancer! Call us today.” As if dealing with cancer is a matter of “taking control.”
Moses begs to differ. In Exodus 24, Moses went up the mountain of the Lord. When on the mountain, God conversed with Moses from Exodus chapter 25 to 31. In chapter 32, we read that the people begin to commit idolatry—the infamous golden calf “incident.”