When Moses went and told the people all the LORD's words and laws, they
responded with one voice, "Everything the LORD has said we will
do." ... Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of
Israel went up and saw the God of Israel ... they gathered around Aaron and
said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us... He took what they
handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning
it with a tool ... When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the
dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking
them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. (Exodus 24:3,9-10; 32:1,4,19)
The people of Israel had heard God, they had seen His miraculous signs, and
saw His manifest presence day and night. Twice in chapter 24 they promised
the Lord to do everything he said, and a covenant was made.
However, nearly 40 days had passed - 40 days of waiting for Moses to come
back down from the mountain. Jewish tradition says that Satan came to them at
that time, telling them that Moses was dead. They had refused to know the
Lord for themselves, so now they were trying to fill a vacuum. They had left
Egypt, but Egypt hadn't left them. They felt helpless, wanted to go
"home". Was there anything more natural than returning to their old
gods they had been corrupted with in Egypt?
The Egyptian bull god was called Shaddu. Its worship was centered around
prostitution; the more perverse the act, the more power they could gain.
So, it was about day 39 when they approached Aaron. How often do we give in
to Satan's lies just when God is about to come through! The temptation is
greatest just before it's over (think of Jesus in the wilderness).
What is Aaron's reaction? Moses had commissioned him as the leader during his
absence. Aaron had been in front of Pharaoh with Moses and had seen God's
miracles firsthand. In Ex 24 he actually saw God! Now 40 days had passed, and
what is his reaction to the people? We would expect him to rise up in anger,
"How dare you!!!"
But that's not what he did. Probably approached by the 70 elders representing
the people, he was overcome with fear of men that was stronger than his fear
of God. Where was Hur, Aaron's assistant? Moses had commissioned both of
them. Why didn't Hur rise up? Where was a David to stand up for God and
prevent shame being brought on God?
Aaron tells them to bring all their gold. Maybe he's still trying to find a
way out. But he is fashioning a calf. What is he thinking while he works on
that calf?? He builds an altar and brings sacrifices to the LORD!! What an
abomination! Then they start with their pagan celebration.
While all this is going on in the camp, Moses and Joshua are on the mountain
with God. God had in the preceding days given Moses instructions on the
tabernacle, its furniture and the priests. He had even told him to make Aaron
high priest. And it's remarkable that he still was anointed high priest after
this great sin.
Moses returned to the camp, hardly believing what the Lord had told him. When
he sees for himself, God's righteous anger burns inside of him. He'd rather
destroy God's sacred tablets than take them to the defiled camp! Moses, an
individual old man, empowered with the authority of God, destroys the golden
calf and makes them drink it.
One man - Aaron - had brought dishonor to God as they became a laughingstock
to all nations. The same way, one man - Moses - did what was right and saved
the people and God's honor. One person can make a difference!
Which one are you? Are you standing up for what is right, no matter the
consequences? Do you fear God more than men? Are you ready to do what's
right, no matter the cost?
[End of the
short form of my second sermon, preached at WRSM on Monday, February 3, 2003]
As mentioned in my last e-mail, this sermon has been born as a result of
current events in the past few weeks. God has been speaking to me about doing
what's right, standing up for Him, even though I don't like confrontation or
conflict. It's been tough, painful, and effected a number of people, causing
a lot more commotion than desired. The stakes have been very high, and while
I thought it was over, it is not. Please pray for wisdom, humility, and that
I would know God's will. If He wants me to, I'm willing to pay the price and
take the consequences.
I wished I could be clearer and tell you what's going on, but it would not be
appropriate. Just know it's a very serious situation, and the days ahead are
gonna be decisive. I greatly need your prayers in this!
I thank the Lord for forming, molding, and training me; He's been encouraging
me that this situation is NOTHING compared to what I'm gonna face in the
future. It's just a tiny training session; and yet everything's at stake.
It's exciting to see what the Lord is getting ready to do right now. Awesome
times lie ahead of us!
May the Lord bless you all abundantly!
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