Exodus 32:7-9; 19-35
7 The Lord told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”9 Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are.
19 When they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing, and he burned with anger. He threw the stone tablets to the ground, smashing them at the foot of the mountain. 20 He took the calf they had made and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water, and forced the people to drink it. 21 Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, “What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?” 22 “Don’t get so upset, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know how evil these people are. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire—and out came this calf!” 25 Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies.[c] 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “All of you who are on the Lord’s side, come here and join me.” And all the Levites gathered around him. 27 Moses told them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Each of you, take your swords and go back and forth from one end of the camp to the other. Kill everyone—even your brothers, friends, and neighbors.” 28 The Levites obeyed Moses’ command, and about 3,000 people died that day. 29 Then Moses told the Levites, “Today you have ordained yourselves[d] for the service of the Lord, for you obeyed him even though it meant killing your own sons and brothers. Today you have earned a blessing.” 30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the Lord on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness[e] for your sin.” 31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a terrible sin these people have committed. They have made gods of gold for themselves. 32 But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” 33 But the Lord replied to Moses, “No, I will erase the name of everyone who has sinned against me. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about. Look! My angel will lead the way before you. And when I come to call the people to account, I will certainly hold them responsible for their sins.” 35 Then the Lord sent a great plague upon the people because they had worshiped the calf Aaron had made.”
It’s here thirdly that we see the:
- Reality – Vs 7-9
You can’t hide your heart from God. God revealed what was going on to Moses. Their sin didn’t just infect their lives it affected Moses life and cut his time with God on the mountain short. Notice what God told Moses in verse 7, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves”God sees our sin, he knew the heading of their hearts and that they were following after a man more than Him. Its here that we see the:
- Ramifications – Vs 19-35
First, we see that their rebellion led to:
- The breaking of the commandments – Vs 19
Not just physically but literally:
- I am the Lord thy God, you shall not have any gods before me.
- You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.
- You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
But it wasn’t about breaking the rules it was about the break in relationship with God. Sin always separated us from God leaving us swimming in our guilt. But when we confess our sin to God, 1 John 1:9 says “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
- They had to drink their disobedience – Vs 20
Moses burned the idol in the fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it. Isn’t Moses overreacting a little! Why did he go to these extreme lengths, because lies don’t die easily! The remedy to their rejection of God is that you have to exchange the lie for the truth. It’s 4 times harder to get rid of a lie than it is to believe it! The Lie fights back because it wants you back. That’s why it’s such a struggle when we try to give up something that was getting in the way of God.
- Aaron was called to account – Vs 21-24
Aaron made excuses, he tried to blame his lack of leadership on the people. Bad leaders refuse to take responsibility for their failure. Aaron’s defense was that it just happened, it was an accident. But isn’t that just like our human nature?When we are caught putting something before Godour first response is usually, but it was an accident. I didn’t mean for it to happen. But it wasn’t an accident it was a conscious choice. They chose to give their gold and Aaron chose to make a god. You don’t exchange the worship of God for the worship of something else by accident. You don’t accidentally forget to pray. You don’t accidentally forget to read your bible. We don’t accidentally walk away from God in order to worship something else. If we’re honest with ourselves it’s because we have replaced Him with something else. It’s not because of chance it’s because of our choices.
- Sin gives Satan an opportunity to celebrate – Vs 25
Verse 25 says that they became a laughingstock to their enemies instead of a light. Their witness became worthless. Are you living a joke or are you living for Jesus? One of the reasons people laugh at Christianity is because we don’t take it seriously ourselves. When we go to worship on Sunday and live like the devil on Monday the world sees a hypocrite and Satan celebrates when we succumb to sin.
- Sin also brings suffering – Vs 35
It’s here that we see the seriousness of sin, instead of bringing delight it brought death. Look sin may seem fun for a season but sooner or later it will suck the life out of living. Living for pleasure brought a plague of death and destruction. So, what about you, is their sin in your life that is separating you from God? Then confess it, repent and return to God. Remember repentance is not just a recognition of sin but a rejection of sin.