When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
In Exodus 24, immediately following the Theophanous feast between Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy anonymous elders, the Lord called Moses to a private meeting on the summit that lasted forty days and forty nights, and these people have grown tired of waiting. Yet, they’ve just received the Ten Commandments. More than that, they’ve signed their names to the parchments as it were, committing their allegiance to God in the presence of Moses. So how on earth can they so quickly abandon their faith and commit this outrage? Even if Moses never comes back, why does that imply the death of God? After all, did Moses part the Red Sea by the word of his power? Did Moses block the Egyptian armies with a pillar of cloud by day and a fire by night? Did Moses thunder from Sinai and send an earthquake across the wilderness? No, of course not! And they know it. They’ve distinguished between Moses and God all along, specifically begging Moses to speak to God on their behalf out of sheer terror.
That’s what presumptuous, unconfessed sin does to us, friend. It drives us stark raving mad. It regresses our souls in exactly the opposite way that virtue progresses them. In virtue, one believes and then becomes. In vice, one becomes and then believes. It’s upside down. In other words, in virtue, belief is the first step toward spiritual progress. In vice, belief is the last step of spiritual demise. “We don’t know what’s become of Moses” they say in their idolatrous self-delusion. But the sadder part is that they don’t know what’s become of themselves.
Friend, no matter how lonely this wilderness world gets, keep clinging to the promise that “they who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). And take heart: our Mediator will come back down from the Mountain when He’s ready.