The Golden Calf

The Golden Calf

WITH AN OMINOUS clonk the tablets struck the rock. Young Joshua watched in horror. Only that morning they had collected them pristine from the angel of God. The fine inscriptions in economical Hebrew covered both sides of each gleaming stone. Now Moses had deliberately smashed them together on the ground, his face twisted with rage (Exodus 32:19). Six weeks before, the two men had toiled higher and higher into the cloud-covered mountain, leaving behind the Israelite camp and their families and friends. The days passed quickly. As Moses received each new commandment from God, Joshua probably helped him write it down in a book. Afterwards they were given a detailed plan of the new Tent of Meeting that God wanted the Israelites to build, and instruction in the system of worship to be set up around it. It was thrilling and absorbing, and Joshua would feel elated to be so

Being Separate

Being Separate

IT IS DIFFICULT TO overestimate the importance of Abraham—the father of the Jews and the Arabs, the spiritual ancestor of all the faithful: ‘If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise’ (Galatians 3:29). We are introduced to Abraham (or Abram, as he was then called) in the early chapters of Genesis: ‘Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you”’ (Genesis 12:1). Note that: he was called to leave the heathens among whom he lived in Chaldea, in order to follow God. And he willingly obeyed: ‘By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going’ (Hebrews 11:8). In time Abraham’s descendants the Israelites settled in Egypt,