“So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.” Exodus 24:17-18 NKJV
We have studied Exodus chapter twenty-five through Exodus chapter thirty-one as we examined all the LORD commanded Moses regarding the Tabernacle, it’s furnishings, the Outer Court and furnishings, and the priests clothing. I have to admit, it eluded me that Moses was on the mountain with God while we were studying those passages. Then I remembered the Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone! It must have seemed like a very long time to the Israelite children, too!
“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.” And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” Exodus 32:1-4 NKJV
I sure wish I could find fault with the people that showed such short memory for all that God had done, even through Moses; and yet they quickly forgot and were ready to have something material to focus their attention and worship upon! BUT, I have been guilty of just this same thing so many times in my life! I knew better and still fell into Satan’s trap of wanting something more, something I could see and/or touch! I would love to tell you that it will never happen to me again! But, just like God’s chosen people would be hot and then cold with their trust in God; I’m afraid it still can happen again to me! The good news is always, that God hasn’t given up on His people; and He hasn’t given up on me! The bad news is that we all have to live with the consequences of our choice of turning our hearts away from Him!
Because of their choice, the people were forced to drink water that contained the ground up powder of the golden calf; (Exodus 32:20); the Levites were commanded to kill their neighbor, friend and brother (Exodus 32:26-27); and God inflicted a plague on the people. (Exodus 32:35). But that wasn’t as bad as it could have been!!
Let’s go back to Exodus 32: 9-10: ” And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! 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.” What? God was so angry that He was going to destroy the whole nation?! And then He was going to start all over with Moses taking the place of Abraham and making a new covenant with Moses?! I believe God could have done this, if it was what He wanted to do! BUT, Moses pleaded for his people! This is a very special prayer request that he made to God! I love it!
“But Moses interceded with the Lord his God: “Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people You brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a strong hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He brought them out with an evil intent to kill them in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from Your great anger and relent concerning this disaster planned for Your people. Remember Your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel—You swore to them by Your very self and declared, ‘I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and will give your offspring all this land that I have promised, and they will inherit it forever.’” Exodus 32:11-13 HCSB
“So the Lord relented concerning the disaster He said He would bring on His people.” Exodus 32:14 HCSB
God is a God of grace! I’m so grateful that He is! I know we have to live with the consequences of our choices; but God is a forgiving God and full of grace! I am so grateful that He is!! How about you??