Across the Pastor’s Desk: God invites us to be on his side
Published 8:00 pm Friday, June 9, 2023
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Ryan Quigley
When relationships become tense and the parties involved begin to grumble, something invariably starts to happen. People surrounding the situation take sides. It happens in families, amongst friends, in the marketplace and in a private place. At times taking sides can be fun, take sports for example. As an avid Seattle Seahawks fan (I grew up just outside of Seattle, so I like to say it’s in my DNA), sports creates a fun and competitive atmosphere when it comes to those games, especially when it involves teams and fans from other areas. Sometimes for the sake of unity, sides shouldn’t be taken. At other times, in cases of absolutes, a side will eventually be chosen either by the individual or for the individual.
Taking sides can be a tricky thing regarding sensitive subjects, especially when it comes to situations involving authority. Authority must uphold an unchanging standard, a standard that is supposed to apply to all people. The most difficult thing happens when individuals violate that standard.
Email newsletter signup
What do we do? Whose side do we land upon? Do we uphold the loved position, the perpetrator of the broken standard? Or do we side with the authority? The risk of such a position can result in strained relationships at the very least.
In the book of Exodus there comes a moment that called for the taking of sides. Moses, the leader of the people of Israel at that time, was on the mountain receiving instructions from God, the Ten Commandments. During the time he was away, the people decided they wanted to follow and worship another god. This is after they witnessed the amazing feats that delivered them from Egypt. This is after they crossed through the Red Sea on dry ground, being led by a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire at night. In their ignorance they decided to craft a golden calf, reminiscent of the ones they saw in Egypt. When Moses came down from the mountain and caught them in the act of worshiping this golden calf, he was incensed, and God with him! Responding to this display, Moses issues a challenge: “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies), then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. … And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.” — Exodus 32:25-29
The full account found in Exodus 32 is actually quite graphic, but it shows an important principle. Being on God’s side isn’t always easy and can create some tense moments or even result in the loss of other relationships of people who do not want to be on God’s side.
However, it was the sons of Levi that gathered to and obeyed Moses who were blessed. God was not on everyone’s side then, and still is not today. In fact the Bible tells us there is only one way to God and that is by Jesus Christ alone.
What I have come to recognize is that there are indeed sides when it comes to how we act and respond to God. There are only two sides to belong to. On one side there is God, holding the answer, holding the way for life and the blessings he has for those who would follow him. On the other side is everything else, the flesh, our own desires, our own mistakes, our own truths. Yet amid all of that, God invites us to come to his side and to stand with him. Hard as it may seem, that is the place of truly living, the place of real blessing. Yes, we do give a lot up to be there, however there is no better place to be than on the Lord’s side.
Ryan Quigley is pastor at Assembly of God Church.