Love Them Anyway

Exodus 32:9 -14, 31-34                                                                   June 14, 2020



Intro.  Living a Hard love means loving people anyway.  It makes us want to say God are you serious.  Do you see the people I have to deal with?  God simply says, “Yes, yes I do.”

Have you considered the “Hard Love” Moses had to live out?

Let’s take a look Moses and the Hebrew people for a while today.  When we are done we will all leave with a new understanding of how “Hard Love” requires us to love people anyway.

God led the Hebrew people out of Egypt and had brought them to Mt. Sinai.  In chapter 19 in great detail how to prepare to worship. They were begin to prepare to meet with God three days before.

A few years earlier Moses met God on Mt. Horeb and was told by God that when He delivered Israel from Egypt that Moses and the Hebrew people would worship God on this mountain.  They are now at Mt Sinai.  Most scholars believe that these to names, Sinai and Horeb are the same mountain.

Three months into their deliverance Israel has a big worship time together.  70 people went into Egypt but after 430 years as many as 1 ½ to 2 million people left Egypt.  While in Egypt the people worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob there was no new or significant  encounters with God.  Now established worship rules or practices.  They worship as they could. They cried out to God.  If they were allowed to worship the Egyptian Gods they probably did.

I say this to say that the Hebrew people were about to learn a lot of new stuff about worshiping God. They knew how to suffer and they knew how to get by, but they didn’t know very much about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and what being chosen was all about.

We need to understand that we are dealing with people on daily basis that don’t know anything or only a little about God.  Many have developed their own ideas about God and believe that they are good people.  They may have developed their own beliefs about a god they created.  Many already have a religion to which they are committed.  Add to that, many Christians who don’t know the God they worship nor do they know how to get to know Him.

This is the world in which we live.  This is the world of people that God loves.  These are the people we must love.  Do you want to talk about a Hard Love?

In chapter 19 God gives instructions for how the people should prepare for worship.  And then God meets with them.  They see the smoke and hear the thunder of God’s voice.  They are so afraid that they tell Moses to go to God and bring back a word from God because He is so awesome and mighty that they are just too afraid.

Did you know that Aaron went with Moses the first time that he went on the mountain.  Then later, in chapter 24, 70 of the elders of Israel went with Moses to meet with God.  They had what I would describe as a Mount of Transfiguration event with God.  God spoke to them as they shared a meal together.  Do you ever remember reading this?

After this Moses again was called upon the mountain and the elders were to wait for Moses to return.  That sounds like the time Jesus went to the garden to pray and told His disciples to wait in prayer for Him to return.   Joshua went further up the mountain with Moses.  It doesn’t say if he went all of the way up.

While Moses was with God in chapter 32 God stops the conversation. He said to go back down to the people, they have lost their minds(my emphasis).  They have made an image of a calf and are worshiping it.  God may have said to Moses, “Did I not just say to them, ‘You shall have no other God than me and make no graven images?’”

Moses came down from the mountain and reprimanded the people. 3000 were judged and died that day. God first said to Moses that He would destroy all of the people and start over and make him a great nation. This is how Moses responded

 The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. 10 Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” 11 Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.

 about doing harm to Your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

31 Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. 32 But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” 33 The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. 34 But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

In chapter 33 after Moses told God that he was continue as Israel’s deliverer if God would not lead. God did continue to lead, guide and prepare Israel for 40 years.

This wasn’t the first time and it was not the last time that Moses would go to bat for Israel. This is free, I do hope some baseball players get to go to bat in the MLB. We are still waitingb ut for today I want you to know the people whom Moses loved and cared for. I want Moses’ actions to be an example for us today. Right now we need to love our neighbors anyway.

Let me start by saying that at this time in Israel’s history there has been no formal worship tradition. No written laws. There were only examples passed on from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God spoke and people listened. They obeyed or they didn’t. God still called them to account for their actions. They made animal sacrifices like many of the religions of the day. Though they made them to the God who made promises to their forefathers. The Hebrew people are going to begin to really know the God of their fathers.

God delivered Israel from Egypt. He had big plans for them. Now God is going to show Israel their significance and their purpose and it is going to take a while. They have a history to learn, a God to follow and they will do it while wandering around in a wilderness. Moses is the man God chose to lead the people He chose. Moses’ mission was to follow God and to lead the people. He loved God and He loved the people.  We are going to see through Moses’ life what a Hard Love it is to love people anyway.

Moses met God on Mt. Horeb and right then God told Moses that He heard the cries of His people Israel. He also told Moses that he was going to be His hands, feet and voice when God answers the prayer of his people. This is the people God that loves.

  1. Love God and Love People anyway As God and Moses are speaking, in Exodus 4, Moses knows that the Hebrew people won’t want to listen to him. 40 years before He tried to help and it cost him his home in the palace. God tells Moses to lead anyway. Moses is willing for three reasons: 1.he cares for his people, 2. he is in awe of God and 3. God said to go. Ask God to develop you in this same way. Love God and Love People anyway.
  2. When People Blame God Love them Anyway. In chapter 5 when God gets ready to deliver Israel, Moses asks nicely for Pharaoh to let his people go for 3 days to worship their God.  Israel came to Egypt as guests but became slaves. Pharaoh didn’t want to lose his labor force so he increased the demands on the people. He said that by doing this they wouldn’t have time to think about worshiping their God. They blamed Moses for this and asked God to judge he and Aaron.

Moses did the only thing he could do.  He took it to God. His prayer was to stop the hurting of the people.

God said, “Wait a little longer and see what I will do.”  Then God said something a little odd in verse 2 of chapter 6; Your fathers knew me as God Almighty or Governor  but know you will know me as Lord.  More personal, Closer more involved.  Let people know that God cares and that He will provide, meet needs and answer the cries of our hearts. While we are waiting for God’s response “Love them anyway”.

  1. When People Have Lost All Hope Love Them Anyway. Moses relayed everything to the people that God said to him. God said He would get them out of Egypt, no more being slaves, redeem you from Pharaoh because I am stronger and I will give you a place for everyone to live.  Then He ended with this, You will be My people and get this, I will be your God.  You know this is how God feels about you, right?

When Moses told them the news from God they refused to listen.  Their hope had long been gone.  They had been slaves to long.  God didn’t act as quickly or decisively enough for them to have hope. 6:9 says, “So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.”

“Listen Enough to hear the cry of people’s hearts.  Sometimes they are so hopeless that they can’t hear God speak.  Stick with them.  I am not keen on the Black Lives Matter organization but I do believe that when someone who is a POC says, “Black Lives Matter” they want someone to listen and to care.  Instead of scrutinizing our neighbors, listen and care.

Let me just say that, I wish I hadn’t preached that one point in my sermon last week.  You remember, the one about not scrutinizing our neighbors?  I had to confess that a few times this week.  I didn’t say anything to anyone but I was scrutinizing as to why I could think things about them.  Love People Anyway.

  1. Complaining People?  Love Them Anyway. People will always have another thing to complain about or get upset about.  Keep loving them.  In Chapter 15, 3 days into the Exodus, the people complain about not having water.  They are walking with the same God whom they saw turn the Nile River into blood and parted the Red Sea and now are complaining that there is no water.  There was water but it tasted bad.  The Bible says bitter.  I don’t know how it tasted.  Did it taste like water from old pipes or water from a garden hose? I think God could fix it if they just asked.  Well they did ask but in a griping, grumbling, what have you done for me lately kind of a way.  In spite of this God loved them anyway.  We are also, “To Love Them Anyway”.
  2. Before People Learn to Pray they Blame, Love Them Anyway. We see in Chapter 16, 15 days into their Exodus the people are again complaining to Moses about their hard life. They were hungry so they came to Moses and said, “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

They said they were taking better care of themselves in Egypt than God was now. That wasn’t true but personal pain makes us lash out.   Once again God heard the complaint and the criticism of the people.  God once again met the need of His people.  He provide not just food for that meal but for 40 years God provide bread and quail for them.

Moses then reminded the people that they were grumbling against God.  Moses was just their leader, doing what God told him to do.  Moses understood that he was leading under God’s leadership and when people griped about him they were, really calling into God’s character.

The people did not understand that they could pray and bring their needs to God.  They only knew how to complain about things.  As God and Moses “Loved them Anyway”, the people began to learn how to relate to God.  Though they had their successes and failures.  Just like we do as we follow Jesus.


Challenge: It is a Hard Love to “love people anyway”.  When we understand God’s great love for all of us it becomes a little easier because of what God wants to do.  He wants everyone to come to Him.  The Hebrew people were not unlike any of us today.  We don’t know God.  We don’t know how to relate to Him.  We don’t know how much He cares about us.  We don’t understand that He holds our future.

All of us want something better and more.  As believers you know what that more is or at least you are learning day by day what that more is as you walk with Jesus.  If we will love people anyway we can invite them to begin the process of knowing how great and awesome God is.  They need to meet Jesus who died for them and call on Him to save them.  Then, just like the people of Israel learned who God was and what it meant to follow, they will learn about the abundant life Jesus offers.

Don’t complain about the people who are complaining, Love them Anyway.

Will you start again this week, doing this?  You know that is how Jesus wants you to walk your pathway this week!


Hard Love                                                                             Need to Breathe

Trading punches with the heart of darkness
Going to blows with your fear incarnate
Never gone until it’s stripped away
A part of you has gotta die to change

[Verse 2]
In the morning you gon’ need an answer
Ain’t nobody gonna change the standard
It’s not enough to just feel the flame
You’ve gotta burn your old self away

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love

[Verse 3]
You know the situation can’t be right
And all you ever do is fight
But there’s a reason that the road is long
It take some time to make your courage strong

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love

When the wolves come and hunt me down
I will face them off and stand my ground
‘Cause there’s a fire burnin’ in me
They will see my strength in this love I found

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love