God commands that we forsake our idols and that we should follow and obey Him…

Aaron’s Sin…

Exodus 32-34 is an interlude between the blueprints of the tabernacle and the actual building process.

Aaron, Moses’ brother, falls into idolatry and orders the making of a golden calf, representative of an old pagan god from Egypt.

This is a flagrant violation of God’s commandments.

When Moses becomes aware of this, he throws the tablets containing the Ten Commandments to the ground and burns the false god.

Now Moses becomes more than the voice of God to the people; he becomes the voice to God on behalf of His followers.

Is God Listening?

Have you ever wondered if God listens to your prayers?

Have you sometimes felt like it’s a waste of time, that the heavens are closed to your petitions?

Consider this: When Franklin Roosevelt was President of the United States, he often endured long receiving lines at the White House.

He complained that no one really paid any attention to what was said.

One day, during a reception, he decided to try an experiment.

To each person who came down the line and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”

The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous!” “Keep up the good work.”

“We are proud of you.” “God bless you, sir.”

It was not until the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard.

Bewildered, the ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming.”

I wonder how many times I have looked toward the heavens and wondered, “Lord, do you care?

Are you too busy for me right now?

Why do I sense that I am getting a busy signal right now?”

Despite how you feel or what you might think, please be assured that God is listening.

This is a truth that Moses knew and deeply counted on.

Remember, chapters 25-31 allowed us to view the blueprint of the tabernacle when God presented the plans to Moses.

Later in chapters 35-40, we enjoyed a study of the building process itself.

But now we look at a parenthetical series of chapters (32-34), where some of the saddest moments in Israel’s history are revealed.

In this tragic situation, Moses became more than a leader; he became an intercessor for his people, knowing God would listen.

The Lord shows His erring people the way to His presence by once again giving them his law.

Exodus 32

The Golden Calf (32:1–10)

Impatient at Moses’ delay in returning to them, the people asked Aaron to make an idol for them.

He meekly complied by converting their golden earrings into a golden molded calf, an act that was expressly forbidden (Ex. 20:4).

Then they broke out in revelry, worshiping the idol and eating, drinking, and playing immorally.

They professed to be worshiping the LORD (v. 5), but by means of the calf.

God had blessed His people with gold when they left Egypt (12:35, 36), but the blessing turned into a curse through the sinful hearts of the people.

God informed Moses what was going on at the foot of the mountain (vv. 7, 8) and threatened to destroy this people (vv. 9, 10).

Even though the Israelites had seen the invisible God in action, they still wanted the familiar gods they could see and shape into whatever image they desired.

How much like them we are!

Our great temptation is still to shape God to our liking, to make Him convenient to obey or ignore.

God responds in great anger when His mercy is trampled on.

The gods we create blind us to the love our loving God wants to shower on us.

God cannot work in us when we elevate anyone or anything above Him.

What false gods in your life are preventing the true God from living in you?

There were two popular Egyptian gods, Hapi and Hathor, who were thought of as a bull and a heifer.

The Canaanites who lived in the Promised Land worshiped Baal, thought of as a bull.

Baal was their sacred symbol of power and fertility and was closely connected to immoral sexual practices.

No doubt the Israelites, fresh from Egypt, found it quite natural to make a gold calf to represent the God who had just delivered them from their oppressors.

They may have even thought they were worshiping God himself.

In any case, they were weary of a god without a face. But in doing this, they were ignoring the command God had just given them:

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind” (20:4).

Their apparent sincerity was no substitute for obedience or excuse for disobedience.

Aaron gave in to the demands of the people. He did not defend Moses, remain faithful to God, or protect the people and do what was best for them.

He crumbled under pressure.

Even if we do not make idols, we are often guilty of trying to make God in our image, molding Him to fit our expectations, desires, and circumstances.

When we do this, we end up elevating ourselves rather than the God who created us—and self-worship today, just as in the Israelites’ time, leads to all kinds of immorality.

What is your concept, or image, of God?

Is it biblical? Is it adequate?

Do you need to destroy that image in order to worship the immeasurably powerful God who delivered you from bondage to sin?

God was ready to destroy the whole nation because of their sin.

But Moses pleaded for mercy, and God spared them.

This is one of the countless examples in the Bible of God’s mercy.

Although we deserve His anger, He is willing to forgive and restore us to Himself.

We can receive God’s forgiveness from sin by asking Him for it.

Also, like Moses, we can pray that He will forgive others and use us to bring them the message of His mercy.

Max Lucado’s Life Lessons…

Exodus 31:1—32:35

The people began to fear that Moses would not come down from the mountain, that they had lost their leader, that they would die in the wilderness.

So they asked Aaron to fashion an idol for them.

Fear can lead people to do things they know are wrong, things they know they shouldn’t do.

“I look at this people—oh! what a stubborn, hardheaded people!” (Exodus 32:9 MSG).

God spoke these words to Moses on Mount Sinai.

The disloyalty of the calf-worshiping Hebrews stunned God.

He had given them a mayor’s-seat perch at His Exodus extravaganza.

They saw water transform into blood, high noon change to a midnight sky, the Red Sea turn into a red carpet, and the Egyptian army become fish bait.

God gave manna with the morning dew, quail with the evening sun.

He earned their trust. The former slaves had witnessed a millennium of miracles in a matter of days. And yet, when God called Moses to a summit meeting, the people panicked like henless chicks. “They rallied around Aaron and said, ‘Do something.

Make gods for us who will lead us.

That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt—who knows what’s happened to him?’” (Exodus 32:1 MSG).

The scurvy of fear infected everyone in the camp. They crafted a metal cow and talked to it.

God, shocked at the calf-praising service, commanded Moses, “Go! Get down there! . . . They’ve turned away from the way I commanded them. . . . Oh! what a stubborn, hard-headed people!” (vv. 7–9 MSG). . . . Our hearts harden in an unhealthy reaction to fear.

Note: the presence of fear in the Hebrews didn’t bother God; their response to it did.

Nothing persuaded the people to trust Him.

Plagues didn’t. Liberation from slavery didn’t.

God shed light on their path and dropped food in their laps, and still they didn’t believe Him.

Nothing penetrated their hearts.

They were flinty. Stiff.

Mount Rushmore is more pliable, an anvil more tender.

The people were as responsive as the gold statue they worshiped.

More than three thousand years removed, we understand God’s frustration.

Turn to a statue for help? How stupid.

Face your fears by facing a cow? Udderly foolish!

We opt for more sophisticated therapies: belly-stretching food binges or budget-busting shopping sprees.

We bow before a whiskey bottle or lose ourselves in an eighty-hour work week.

Progress? Hardly. We still face fears without facing God.
(From 3:16 by Max Lucado)

Are you dealing with fears in unhealthy, unhelpful, even sinful ways?

God says turn away from that and look to Him.

Thursday, August 25
The Berean
Daily Verse and Comment

Exodus 32:7-10
New King James Version

7 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.

8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them.

They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ ”

9 And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!

10 Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”

These people were undoubtedly sincere, but God did not care for their sincerity one bit. Why? God saw this as an attempt by these people to control Him through redefining His nature.

When we turn aside from the path, whether we realize it or not, we are beginning to redefine what He is according to our own thinking.

If we think this is not a prevalent sin, Jesus says in Mark 7:7,

“In vain do you worship Me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

He is not saying that these people are insincere, but that they have failed to follow the way of God.

Like these Israelites, they proclaim their religion in the name of God though.

Jesus also says in Luke 6:46,

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things that I say?”

That is what they were doing in Exodus 32.

What was their motivation? Does this have an end-time application to the church of God?

The answer is in verse 1:

Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him,

“Come make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

Moses, the charismatic leader, the type of Jesus Christ, delayed his coming!

That is alarming! What motivated Saul to make the sacrifice in I Samuel 13?

Because Samuel’s coming was delayed,

Saul presumptuously took it into his own hands to do something he had not been commanded to do—to make the sacrifice.

The problem was the delay he perceived.

Do we understand why Christ says,

“Do not say in your heart, ‘The Lord delays His coming'”?

He knows from the experiences from the Old Testament that, if we begin to think that Christ is delaying, then we will turn aside to idolatry because we will use it as a justification for adjusting ourselves to the spirit of the times we live in.

This has alarming ramifications.

What did the Israelites do here?

Redefining the nature of God is merely the sin that led to them adjusting their lifestyle, to fall into idolatry.

Will that be a problem for this generation?

Are we going to think that Christ is delaying His coming?

Sincerity is good, but truth is needed with it.

Jesus says in John 4:24 that God is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

We need to examine ourselves to see whether we are making adjustments in our way of life to be in harmony with the spirit of the age.

Do we keep Sabbath just like the world keeps Sunday?

If we do, we have adjusted already.

Are we careful in tithing? Are we concerned God will not come through with prosperity?

If so, we are already beginning to make adjustments. Who is the idol? We are.

We change the image of God by saying, “He won’t mind. He understands.”

He does understand, but He wants us to trust Him. He knows we are under pressure, but He knows we need to learn to do without, to suffer, to wait. Do we believe that?
— John W. Ritenbaugh

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This is an open forum where we look into and investigate the Rhema Mysteries of God's Word; and also other issues of importance for our day and time.

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