Exodus 32:1,4,9-10,21-22,24,27-29,33-35 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him”... He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt”... “I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation”... He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil... So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”... Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day”... The LORD replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.” And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
After such a good run this far today's chapter was a disaster in that the chosen people of God failed miserably. They chose to worship an idol because they had no patience for the God of Moses and therefore suffered the consequences.
What truly got to me was God's wrath and judgment as displayed in the gruesome murder of the idol worshippers and worse still was the lie spoken by Aaron but how his life was spared. Is God really a merciful and gracious God?
The God of the old testament certainly was a mighty and awesome God and His people, the Israelites, proved themselves to be shallow and sinful in their nature.
What a contrast between God and His own creation and one wonders about whether the Bible recorded God's word right when it quotes God as saying let us make man in Our likeness (Genesis 1:26).
If man were created by God in His image, how then could man be sinful while God be holy? It is because God did not create Gods but created creatures who were to be likened to him in relationship.
We were created with the purpose of living in relationship to God and to serve Him but we chose to ignore that calling by following our own ways and this has caused us to be a fallen creation.
The hardness of the these Israelite's hearts described here is not exclusive to them but to all mankind. Like in the sin of Adam and Eve, we live lives making choices that cost us our lives because we trust only ourselves and believe that life is to be lived in the safety of our own wisdom.
Aaron lied to God and Moses and eventually got away with his treacherous act of making the golden calf and that is another great mystery of whether God is partial.
His lie was never missed or ignored but because of his repentance, he was spared the great punishment of God. This is again a reality of how we are a sinful people but are given hope by God through Jesus, His son.
Jesus, through His crucifixion and death, made way for us who are sinners to find a way back to God when we repent of our sins and put our trust in Him alone. We can chose to live by the God's of our life or by the grace of Jesus Christ who sets us free from the bondage of sin and gives us eternity in God's presence through His resurrection.
The great punishment that Moses ordered through God's leading was another aspect of today's passage that is very hurtful. We wonder why God did not show compassion to these people who erred because they figured Moses was lost or ashamed to return.
In truth, God had shown great mercy to the Israelites as He had promised Abraham He would and even after all He did for them, they chose to put their trust in themselves rather than in God.
Today we live with the threat of the end of grace and the beginning of God's judgement and that is a horrible reality of life. Because of God's abounding grace, we are not judged yet but the reason is that God has given us a lease of life to make amends and I pray you will not let go of this opportunity.
God is slow to anger and quick to judge and I pray that you and I will humble ourselves before this great and gracious God and ask His forgiveness and serve Him with our all.
In His Loving Service,
Romans 2:5-6 because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”
Revelation 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it (heaven), nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 3:5 The one who is victorious will, like them (Those who are saved), be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
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