Page 9 - Reading Between the Lines - Sample
P. 9

This lectionary selection is the second half of an extended narrative telling of Moses’ visit with the Lord on Mt Sinai (Exodus 24:12-18). The Lord commands Moses to meet him on the mountain where he will give him the tablets of stone with the law and the commandment for their instruction. Moses enters a cloud of God’s glory for six days and on the seventh days the Lord calls Moses out of the cloud to meet him. When the people below look to the mountain they see only a devouring fire. Moses is on the mountain for forty days and forty nights. It is during this “delay” to come down the mountain that the people ask Aaron to “make gods” for them and he fashions the golden calf (Exodus 25:1-32:1). Take time to read over what is delaying Moses on the mountain top before exploring the text.
1. Where is this story taking place? Recall “why” the wilderness, and from whence the people have come. What do you recall of their journey through the wilderness on the way to a Promised Land thus far? The Lord commands Moses to the mountain top for what reason?
When the people look up to the mountain where Moses has gone what do they see? What might they imagine is happening? What do you suppose they think is going on between Moses and the Lord? Moses is delayed. How long does he delay returning to the people? As those days pass and they wait what do you imagine they may be thinking and feeling? Their greatest hope? Their worst fear?
As you read over Exodus 25:1 to 32:1 what do you learn about what is happening on the mountaintop? What are Moses and the Lord doing and discussing during this forty day and forty night delay? List below some of the things the Lord tells Moses the people are to do and make:
How do you imagine Moses is feeling during this delay? What might he be thinking and wondering about what is happening down below?
What do you suppose the wait is like for Aaron? What might be his concerns and anxieties? How do you suppose he feels when they come to him asking him to “make gods for us”? What are they wanting? What choices does Aaron have? The implications of such choices might be what?
How would you describe what happens when the delay ends and Moses returns down the mountain only to hear below the sound of revelers and he sees the calf and the dancing? [Exodus 32:15-20]
2. As you look around your world today where do you see people who are frightened and uncertain when their leaders are “delayed” at a distance and beyond their reach? Who are the people at the bottom of the mountain who are left estranged and frightened when those they depend and count
Proper 23
October 15, 2017

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