I've had people tell me that I am a patient person. No one who lives with me, however, has ever told me that. And with good reason.
Oh, I can be patient. I can deal with children and the elderly. Crazy people love me- and I will talk to them and enjoy the conversation for hours at a time. I can even be really good in a crisis. But when it's all over- have a stretcher ready. Cause I will just flat fall out.
And once my patience has run thin, there's a good chance I'm going to pitch a fit. Nine times out of ten, the fit is over some silly issue that means little to nothing. It's just the straw that breaks the camel's back. And I can pitch an impressive fit. A snot slinging, hillbilly, bawling, stomping, hollering out fit.
There's just nothing that makes me feel quite as Godly as one of those. Not.
I usually sit down when it's all over and just survey the damage: crying kids, stunned dog, disgusted cat. And sometimes I even manage to include a friend in the incredulous audience, which heightens the embarrassment. It's a sick feeling, that post-fit nausea.
This evening one of my dear young friends said "I'm just tired of acting like an idiot". In my infinite wisdom I replied, "then just stop. Don't do it anymore." Yeah, Sandybunn- it's just that simple. Good grief, Paul wrote an entire chapter of the greatest book in the Bible about how it's NOT just that simple (see Romans 7).
I cherish something written in the handwriting of someone I love. I'm all about texts and Facebook messages- but something in beloved handwriting can bring a tear so quickly. There's something soooo special about handwriting that is familiar. Over eight years after she's gone- seeing something in Mama's handwriting brings a catch in my throat. A lot of things in life are sealed with a signature.
Can you imagine holding something in your hand that was written in the personal handwriting of God? Let that sink in a minute while you read Exodus 32:15-16: "Then Moses turned and went down the mountain. He held in his hands the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. These tablets were God's work; the words on them were written by God himself."
Wow. Bet those are in the International Museum of the Bible.
Except they're not.
Somewhere in the desert- under layers and layers of hot sand blown for hundreds of years- lie shards and fragments of stone that have on them the HANDWRITING OF ALMIGHTY GOD.
Fragments and shards...because Moses pitched a wall-eyed hissy fit, threw them down, and smashed them.
Now I know what some of you Bible scholars are thinking. Yes- but it was righteous indignation. He was furious that the people had busied themselves with making and worshipping the original Chick fil a cow. Only it was really a golden calf. And Moses was fresh from the mountain where he had visited with the Lord face to face- and he could not imagine the people creating and honoring such a ridiculous substitute.
But the fact remains- he pitched a hissy fit. And smashed the tablets that The Lord had written on HIMSELF.
(Plus- they were front AND back- which we are all impressed with- after having to endure some assignment in high school English, which we decided we could probably stretch out to be four pages. Until she said it had to be front AND back. Sigh.)
Well, the rest of chapter 32 continues the story. It's a doozy- take time to read it for yourself. It's filled with a ridiculous rendition of the calf incident by Aaron, accounts of Moses running back to God on behalf of the people- while also trying his hardest to make the people understand just how terrible they had sinned. There was also the obligatory "great plague" that God sent to once again try to inspire this bunch of slow learners to get things straight.
Only they weren't slow learners. Just humans, trying hard to fill in the gaps in their hearts and lives with something other than Him. Just like I do so very often. And even if I've never smashed tablets written on by God- I have smashed spirits and emotions and relationships around me during my hissy fits. I've probably even hurt the dog's feelings.
Chapter 33 is great too- filled with repentance and clothes renting and mourning and no more jewelry wearing (of course they had probably melted most of it, anyway). There are a couple of incredible phrases in chapter 33- like "the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend" (v.11) and "I look favorably on you, and I know you by name" which God said to Moses in v. 17.
The Lord's forgiveness and restoration is already being shown. But the part I can't wait to share right now is at the beginning of chapter 34. The Lord tells Moses to chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones. MOSES does the chiseling. The God of the universe- who fashioned mountain ranges and oceans with his hand, could have whipped up a couple of stone tablets pretty quick- I'm guessing.
But the Lord made Moses do it. And I'm willing to bet that while he was chiseling away- he had plenty of time to think about what he had smashed. And I'm sure all that chiseling was hard work. Not fun at all. Yet, the whole time he was doing it- he had to be thankful that His Father gave him another chance. Just like He always does.
Moses got new tablets.
I'm so thankful that I get a new tablet. Every time I mess up, pitch a fit, lash out, or simply act like an idiot- I get a new tablet. It's there for the asking, thanks to the incredible gift of forgiveness and new beginnings we have in Christ.
Always, always another chance. What a gift...
And the lights go out on another night here in Pizza Hut Heights.
Sleep tight, y'all. Tomorrow is a fresh tablet! What will you write on yours?