In Today's Scripture Reading:
Moses delayed on Mount Sinai; Aaron's golden calf; its destruction; death of 3,000 Israelites; Law renewed; God's Covenant; three feasts
Moses was on Mount Sinai when God gave him the two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God (Exodus 31:18). At the same time, something tragic was taking place at the base of the mountain. When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot (know) not what is become of him (32:1). It didn't take Aaron long to submit to their sinful demands and to make a golden calf, and he built an altar before it. . . . And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings (32:2-6).
A true Burnt Offering was a delight to the Lord since it symbolized full surrender to Him; but these idolatrous sacrifices were an abomination. The people were attempting to combine worship of the True God with the worship of idols.
Returning to the camp, Moses saw how quickly the Israelites had corrupted themselves (become apostate) (32:7). Did they think that a golden calf, which they could see, was a better object of worship than the invisible, yet ever-present God? Had they turned to Apis, an Egyptian god in the form of a bull? Only six weeks earlier, the whole congregation had sworn submission and obedience to God as their king, saying: All that the LORD hath spoken we will do (19:8).
The worship of false gods leads to irresponsible, immoral conduct. Let us compare the Israelites' sins with our own behavior. Most Christians would reject man-made idols. But, think about how easily money, possessions, talents, hobbies, and success become idols for many. Centuries later, the Apostle Paul spoke of those who, although they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but (their worship) became vain (foolish, worthless) in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened (Romans 1:21).
The golden calf stands as a symbol of human intellect which devises its own system of worship apart from, or added to, the Word of God. Sadly, the world admires the independent, self-sufficient person who is determined to behave the way he wishes instead of God's way. Don't be like the world or the Israelites, who rejoiced in the works of their own hands (Acts 7:41-43).
As the One who is ever-present. My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest (peace) (Exodus 33:14). He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5; compare Matthew 11:28; John 14:27).
32:12 mischief =b> evil intent; 32:20 strawed =b> scattered; 32:25 made them naked =b> let them get out of control; 34:10 terrible =b> marvelous, awesome.
Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA) and Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS) Country: Costa Rica (4 million) in Central America Major languages: Spanish and English Religious freedom is increasing 90% Roman Catholic; 6% Protestant Prayer Suggestion: Study and heed the instruction of the Word of God that your prayers may be heard (Proverbs 1:28-30).
Optional Reading: Matthew 28
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 119:36