A “quiet time” is simply being intentional about having a conversation with God. This usually means listening for God’s voice by reading the Bible or devotions, and speaking to God through prayer. Jesus did this numerous times in the Gospels, sometimes slipping away all night or in the early morning, to spend time with his Father.
Here are some well respected reading plans that can help you plan this time, they all come with mobile optimised options so you can even take them with you as you travel to work.
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Can you remember being a child who was caught doing something wrong and immediately trying to make excuses? Is that still your instinct today?
"It is not the sound of victory,
it is not the sound of defeat;
it is the sound of singing that I hear." 19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. 21 He said to Aaron, "What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?" 22 "Do not be angry, my lord," Aaron answered. "You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him.' 24 So I told them, 'Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.' Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!"
In this passage we see Moses, accompanied by Joshua, approaching the people’s illicit party. Moses was carrying God’s Law as he approached the people he had just been pleading for before God. As he saw all that was going on, his anger burned, the tablets of the Law were destroyed, then the golden calf too.
Proverbs 29:18 tells us that when there is no word from God the people will cast off all restraint. The people of Israel disgraced themselves that day. Is God’s word being proclaimed into your life to protect you from doing similarly destructive things?
As Moses, the representative of God’s word, confronted Aaron, the response was disappointing. Aaron grasped for a sufficient excuse (vs 22–24). First, the people are prone to evil. Second, it was their idea. Third, we don’t know where Moses is. Fourth, it just happened!
When God’s word confronts sin in your life do not try to protect yourself. Instead, cast yourself on God’s mercy – the whole Bible makes it clear that the only way out of our own sin is to trust in God’s provision.
Are there sins in your life that God might be confronting? Are there excuses on your lips that are getting in the way of God’s solution? God’s righteous anger at sin is never turned away by an excuse. It takes something far better than that!
‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.’ (Psalm 111:10)
Aaron had been Moses’ spokesperson from the beginning (Exodus 4:14–16,30). Recently he was in the select group that went up the mountain and ‘saw the God of Israel … and they ate and drank’ (Exodus 24:1–11). What a contrast to be alone as acting leader, not knowing when Moses would return. Now he has to explain his actions to an angry Moses.
How many have been faced with a large group of people (or even a small congregation) demanding action? Populist preachers or politicians may manipulate, but Aaron’s attitudes are different. His response can be a mirror to aspects of situations we may face. He describes the people as ‘prone … to evil’ (v 22) – the weeks prior to Sinai were evidence (Exodus 14:11,12; 15:24; 16:2,3; 17:2–4). Did Aaron think making the golden calf was his only option to keep them together, even to save his own position – or life? He had also called the people to hold ‘a festival to the Lord’ (v 5). Was he seeking a compromise, salving his own conscience? His ludicrous explanation to Moses (v 24) suggests that, like Adam and Eve, he evades responsibility by blaming others – and the fire! He had to learn that the Lord’s commands, ‘You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image’ (Exodus 20:3,4), were foundational and non-negotiable. The consequences of the people’s ‘great sin’ (v 21) will become evident in the following verses, but for Aaron failure was not final. He and his descendants would be consecrated as priests (Exodus 40:12–15) and he would continue alongside Moses.
It is not easy handling a vocal, even physically threatening, gathering of people; strategies will vary. Worship of the Lord alone, however, is non-negotiable. We seek wisdom from Christ who lived his reply to Satan, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’ (Matthew 4:10).
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