Read Exodus 32
Moses delayed on Mount Sinai; Aaron's golden calf; its destruction; death of 3,000 Israelites; The Law renewed; the Covenant of God; 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 (Ex. 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 before, 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, the impulse of human desires, 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 an obsession or idol 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 (Rom. 1:21).
The golden calf stands as a symbol of human intellect that devises its own system of worship excluding, or added to, the Word of God. The world admires the independent person who controls his own behavior. We must not be like Israel that rejoiced in the works of their own hands (Acts 7:41-43).
Thought for Today:
Depart from the evil, and do good: seek peace, and pursue it (Ps. 34:14).
As the One who is ever-present. My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest (peace) (Ex. 33:14). He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Heb. 13:5; compare Matt. 11:28; John 14:27).
32:7 corrupted themselves behaved sinfully; 32:9 stiffnecked willfully disobedient; 32:12 mischief evil intent; repent of denounce; 32:14 repented was moved with compassion and turned from; 32:20 strawed scattered; 32:25 naked out of control; made them naked allowed them to sin; 32:34 will visit will inflict punishment; 32:35 plagued the people paused them to suffer; 34:10 terrible thing that I will do amazing, awesome, feaful act of God; 34:12 be for a snare in the midst of thee drove to be your ruin; 34:13 groves places of idol worship; 34:17 molten gods metal idols; 34:19 all that openeth the matrix the firstborn, all that are first to come out of the womb; firstling firstborn; 34:21 in earing time at plowing time; 34:26 seethe a kid took a young goat; 34:27 after the tenor of according to.
Pray for Government Officials: Rep. Brian Bilbray (CA), Rep. Linda Sánchez (CA), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH), and Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS) • Country: Slovenia (2 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian • Freedom of religion • 81% Roman Catholic; 1% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Pray with great faith and the Lord will answer (Matt. 21:22).
Optional Reading: Matthew 28
Memory Verse for the Week: Proverbs 30:5