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Exodus 32-34

1/30/2019

A Devotional Journey                                                
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson     
                                       Thru the Bible in a Year
 
        The grace of God exceeds any expectations we might have for it and any limitations we might set on it. The Israelites actually become involved in a kind of worship which violates the Ten Commandments Moses is contemporaneously receiving from God Himself

       The grace of God exceeds any expectations we might have for it and any limitations we might set on it. The Israelites actually become involved in a kind of worship which violates the Ten Commandments Moses is contemporaneously receiving from God Himself at the top of Mount Sinai. They construct a golden calf, reminiscent of the Egyptian bull-god Apis, and perhaps in some sense a misguided tribute to the LORD.
       Because the festival they celebrate has blatant sexual overtones, it could be the case that the occasion for the golden bull=s manufacture was a desire of the people for some sensual diversion of the kind common in a pagan world (or perhaps similar to our Mardi Gras).
       In any case, since the second commandment expressly forbids the creation of images or idols, this is a flagrant act of rebellion against God. The human response always seems to be, "He won't care!" but of course God does.
       God is ready to destroy these ungrateful slaves only free through His intervention and power. Moses intercedes and God relents. Still, something must be done, so Moses goes down to the camp, is horrified by what he sees (which God has already described to him), and breaks the tablets of the Law which God has given into small pieces and then grinds them into dust, mixes it with water and forces the people to drink it.
       Aaron stands as a weak and ineffective leader who as a priest gives in to the immoral and blasphemous pressure of his congregation and then leads them into sin. While God doesn’t destroy the people, He sends a plague which kills many of them. It all serves as a reminder that God takes our responsibility to Him seriously, even when we do not.
       After all this, God sends the people on their way. They use the Tent of Meeting (later replace by a more substantial tabernacle), and Moses is given the opportunity to see God=s glory (if only from behind).  Moses prays for the people and receives another set of tablets containing the Law.
       An interesting point is made by God in 34:20, where God discusses offerings and tells Moses that "No one is to appear before [Him] empty handed."  After His encounter with God's glory, Moses= face glows for several days.
 
       Who is ineligible for God's love?  No one, at least not until they make some kind of final decision to reject God and live totally for themselves. Even in such a state, God, like the Prodigal Father in Jesus' parable, eagerly seeks to restore those who have lost their way.
       Since God's love is still available for everyone, we can always offer hope in His name. But what is necessary for the People of Israel is also necessary for us:  a change of heart and direction; a decision to follow Him instead of our own ideas or desires. Otherwise, we face punishment. Christ has already taken on Himself all punishment due us, so we can find forgiveness and the restoration of our relationship with God through Him.
       Today, is there anything standing between you and God?  Why not bring it to Him, ask His forgiveness and start in a new direction. His grace is as real for us as it was for the People of Israel.

© A. Eugene Pearson 2011