Many years ago…I was in the sixth grade at Pine Mountain Middle School. I was the girl who grew three feet last year and was now taller than everyone. No matter what I did, my red cotton shorts with white piping looked as if they are pulled way too high. Boys didn’t like me because I am taller than them. I may not have been the most popular girl in school but my wings and corkscrew curls were forever perfectly in place.
The sweltering Georgia heat made me sweat in places I won’t mention. Kids squealed with excitement as they rushed out to the covered play area for recess. The kickball gods strutted their stuff as we lined up like a cattle call. “Let’s pick teams,” they shouted.
My right fist positions on my 12 year old hip. My size 8 Nike tennis shoe taps with anticipation. The most popular girl in school parades around us waiving her chunky pink sidewalk chalk over her flippy blonde hair. “Time for team pickin,’” she announces with authority. She kneels down and draws one powdery line across the sizzling black asphalt. Teams are selected. Each team stands on either side of the thick pink line.
Moses drew a line too, only not with pink sidewalk chalk.
A long time ago, Moses drew a line in the sand and picked teams too. Only Moses didn’t have pink sidewalk chalk in a covered play area. He had a staff that he pushed into the sand instead. He chiseled a line from one end of the camp to the other. The people had to choose whether they were on God’s side or not.
While Moses and God have their Ten Commandment meeting on the mountain, the Israelites become restless. The people toss their jewelry into the burning flames. The melted gold shapes the image of a calf. The gold plated calf becomes their focus of praise. Moses returns to find the people prancing around the things they themselves created. In anger, Moses smashes the tablets cracking them into a million pieces. Forty days worth of work shattered in an instant–I’d be a little mad too.
“All of you who are on the Lord’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him,” Exodus 32:26 (New Living Translation).
At this moment Moses draws a line in the sand. He instructs the people to pick a side. Three thousand people boldly take a step against God over the sandy windblown line. They are wiped out and destroyed. The people standing alongside Moses on the opposite side receive God’s blessing.
Sometimes we finish a kickball match with clean clothes and perfect hair. However, sometimes the kickball smacks the side of our leg resulting in a red welt tattooed across our extremity for the rest of the day.
We may get beat up. We may even limp a little. Wounds may turn into scars– but as long as we are on the right side of the pink chalky line, we know we are always on a winning team!