MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
SCRIPTURE: EXODUS 32
BY: Jeremy Witt
God demands our worship. This world (our culture, man’s ideas, our selfishness, others’ selfishness, enemies of God, etc) throws things at us and says, “Worship this!” God says worship only Me! Ultimately Satan wants us to only worship him. Herein lies the conflict we face daily. Will we worship the LORD God or something else? Every day, in every place we face this civil war of . . . will I worship God or will I worship what I want or what they want?
Our chapter teaches us this quite clearly. The Israelites grew impatient which shows us who was most important to them. They didn’t know what happened to Moses, they were tired of waiting, and they wanted action. We see that they were more important and essentially wanted a god of their liking. So they did and coerced Aaron to shape them a golden calf out of the abundance that God had caused the Egyptians to give to them when they left. This is the great temptation for us today. They wanted convenience. They wanted control. They ignored what God had said. You can see how we do the exact same thing as a culture, and as individuals right?
Not only did the people coerce Aaron, read verse 2-5, Aaron tried to make it okay by celebrating a festival to the LORD. We could talk about Aaron and how he caved to peer pressure, but our focus will be on something else we do as well. Aaron tries to take something sinful or disobedient to God and spiritualize it to make it okay with God. We would never try to do anything like that, now would we?
So how does God respond? Read verses 7-10. In great anger, God responds because the people have ignored all that He has done. They have walked over His mercy as well as His provision and protection. They made an image of a calf! This goes back to Egypt because the Egyptians had gods that were shaped in the image of a bull and a calf (Hapi and Hathor). The people around the Israelites worshipped Baal who was in the image of a bull and a calf. God is ready to wipe them out as verse 10 says.
Application for us here in 2018: maybe we are not making idols today. What we are guilty of trying to make God into our image or our way of thinking. We make worshipping Him when it is convenient for us or fits our work/vacation/sleep schedules. We obey the Scriptures that don’t convict us. We ignore the Bible when it affects our daily living or totally neglect it altogether. You see how we are just like the Israelites. I have done this and I must and we must stop and repent!
God has every right to wipe us out. He had every right with the nation of Israel. But Moses intervenes on behalf of the people to God. Read verses 11-14. Moses stood in the gap. He reminded God of what He has done. Moses could have taken God’s offer to start it all with himself, but he did not take the selfish route. Moses pleaded for mercy and God gave mercy. God will offer forgiveness if we will go to Him. God is merciful!
Maybe you are a parent and have a wayward child so you are praying for mercy. Maybe you are praying for mercy for a group of people that God has given you a burden for. Moses’ heart was for the Israelites. The question for us is, who are you going to the Father and begging for mercy? Will you stand in the gap for them?
Let’s understand that even though God relented and showed mercy, He still judged and disciplined. Moses and Joshua went down from the mountain and we discover the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. Read verses 15-28. We see the lack of leadership in Aaron in verses 21-26. We see why God chose the Levites to be the priests to the nation of Israel as they acted on God’s behalf in 27-29.
Read verses 30-35. Do you see the burden Moses had for the people? He was willing to give up his salvation and blessings for the people in verse 32. Moses was a special leader who loved his people. Keep this in mind for tomorrow’s devotion as Moses is blessed with something special for his faithfulness and leadership.