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November 10, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: John 13-15
Audio: John 13-15

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Memory Verse of the Week

“And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”
(Exodus 31:18 ESV)

Exodus 32 (ESV)

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. 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.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, 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, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

11 But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.

15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” 18 But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” 19 And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.20 He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it.

21 And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” 22 And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. 23 For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. 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.’24 So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”

25 And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord‘s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. 27 And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’” 28 And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. 29 And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.”

30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.” 33 But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. 34 But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”

35 Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.

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Next: Exodus 33

Back: Exodus 31

This Post Has One Comment
  1. And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves." Exodus 32:7

    The Wages of Sin

    When the Lord told Moses to back down the mountain so His wrath may burn hot and consume those who have corrupted themselves (Exodus 32:10), Moses implored God saying in Exodus 32:11, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?"

    When we read in Exodus 32:14 that "the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people." This might be confusing because it seems that God has changed His mind because of Moses' plea. When God "relents", His relenting was part of His divine plan all along (as is our imploring Him, praying to Him, asking Him and pleading with Him).

    When God moves because of something we have said or done, whatever we said or did was all part of His sovereign will (we just didn't know it – and probably will never know).

    So Moses heads down the mountain with the two tablets in hands. When he heard the people singing and saw the calf and the people dancing, his anger burned hot and he broke the tablets that God just engraved.

    He didn't stop there. Exodus 32:20 says Moses "took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it."

    Then Moses turns his attention to Aaron and asks, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” At this point, Aaron had not told Moses what happened. But even without those details, Moses still held Aaron responsible for what happened. 

    So what is Aaron's response? Does he take full responsibility for not protecting the people from their sinful desires? Did he take responsibility for making the calf so they could worship it? Did he come clean about making an alter before the new "calf god?"

    Nope. 

    First, he shifts responsibility to the people. He said to Moses, "You know the people, that they are set on evil." This reminds me of Adam saying to God, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Instead of taking responsibility, he blamed Eve and Aaron blamed the "evil" people. Notice Aaron didn't see himself this way? It's not like he was a spectator!

    But Aaron does come clean (sort of) and tells Moses what they said to him, "Make us gods who shall go before us. 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" (Exodus 32:23). Then Aaron takes responsibility for taking their gold and throwing it into the fire.

    So far, so good. But then, Aaron lies.

    He tells Moses that when he threw it into the fire, "out came this calf" (Exodus 32:24). He didn't tell Moses that "he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf" (Exodus 32:4) but that it just appeared. Poof!

    Blame shifting is not godly leadership. Telling partial truths is still a lie and is not godly. Not taking full responsibility is always the easy way out. Spiritual leaders must take the hard road if they want to be a person of integrity and truly help people.

    Aaron didn't help the people of God – he hurt them but not stopping them and also by helping them turn away from God in idol worship. He didn't remind them where they came from and all that God has done. He didn't use Moses being gone a long time as a teachable moment. Instead, he became an accessory to the sin of having other God's before them and making a carved image to bow down to. They broke the first two commandments which God previously reveled to them (Exodus 20) and were written on the tables which now lay broken at the foot of the mountain. 

    Then Exodus 32:25 reveals something even more troubling, Aaron let the people "break loose to the derision of their enemies?" When Moses saw this, he stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord's side? Come to me."

    The tribe of Levi, (Moses' own tribe), turned away from idol worship, turned back to God and then killed the 3,000 people who refused to turn back to God and instead persisted in their rebellion. This included members of their own families. 

    While this might seen unjust (and certainly inappropriate in the New Covenant of Jesus Christ), sin is serious and unless repented of, it has eternal consequences. God's anger burned hot and in His sovereign will, He allowed Moses to experience His righteous hot anger in dealing with the rebellion of the people.

    The end of this chapter is so powerful. After returning to the Lord on the mountain, Moses acknowledged the severity of the people's sin and makes intercession for them and offers himself up in their place. 

    What a picture of Christ this is!

    This also reminds me when the Apostle Paul wrote, "I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises" (Romans 9:2-4). 

    When our anger burns hot, it's often because someone has done something to offend us, hurt us or harm us or our loved ones. We get angry when things don't go our way or go the way we want them to. We get angry and want to seek revenge.

    But there's a huge difference between righteous anger (over sin) and self-righteous anger that seeks to serve ourselves or soothe our burning hot anger.

    When was the last time your anger burned over sin (in yourself or others)?

    Have you ever confronted someone who turned away from God?

    Did they repent and turned back to God?

    Leading people spiritually is as much about helping people overcome the temptation to do wrong as it is helping them finding the desire to do right.

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