Exodus 32-33:1-6

The Golden Calf

32 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.

The Command to Leave Sinai

33 The Lord said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”

When the people heard this disastrous word, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do with you.’” Therefore the people of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

23 thoughts on “The Essential Jesus-Day 7

  1. When our eyes are not focused on the Lord, how soon we forget.

    This passage is tough. We see God’s frustration with man. He does respond to the request of a believer, through Moses’ prayer. He judges those that have turned away… does this blatant turning away define apostasy?

    His wrath is real, although He gives us millions of chances to repent.

    The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

  2. Your Word is so real and true. When we disobey you we suffer the consequences. Please help us not to be a stuff necked people but one who remembers your commandments and follows them. Without You we are nothing. I pray for all who have wandered away from you that they will return soon. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  3. How soon we people tend to forget the miracles and grace of GOD in our lives. We have to keep our focus on the Lord, follow Him, wait on Him as He leads and guides us.
    Let us pray that our leaders will also be “strong and courageous”, “not straying to the right or left” , willing to seek God’s leading and not give in to pressure from people/men and thus lead us to sin against God!
    Oh Lord, be gracious to us. Help us remember, repent and return, and seek You, Your Word and Your way over our desires and wants!

  4. Heavenly Father, thank You for continuing to forgive us. The sin we read our ancestors committed sounds so unbelievable-yet we turn from you in the same way every day. Thank You for the one hundred thousand second chances. Thank You for loving us so. Please give us strength and desire to live for You alone. I’m Jesus’ name. Amen.

  5. Thank the Lord He is absolutely faithful to keep His unconditional , unchangeable covenants with us! He remembers His promises .

  6. Moses prayer was amazing. He spoke openly and honestly to God. And God responded to his prayer. Lord teach us to pray!

  7. Father God, please continue to forgive us. Forgive me for my great sin. Help me to never forget You, Your goodness, and Your mercy. Thank you. Thank You! Thank You Lord.

  8. Lord, we are a stiff necked people. May we fall to our face before you asking for forgiveness. May we find our way back to you.

  9. Lord, please forgive me an nine. Than you Moses for your prayers for God’s people.
    Help me to be a better person and servant.In Jesus name I pray. Amen

  10. O Lord, help us to identify the golden calves in our lives and repent. You ALONE are worthy of all our praise, worship and honor. Amen.

  11. So many lessons in this story…more each time I read it! God is a God Who keeps His Word, but He is also a God of wrath.
    God responds to sincere prayer! We are in a time we have an opportunity to pray and allow God to show His strength and goodness.

  12. I will never get over Aaron describing the situation…”I threw the rings into the fire and out came this calf” LOL as if he was just passive to the whole situation.

    Aaron is obviously at fault here, but the Bible doesn’t talk about how much the people pressured him. i have to imagine there was some discourse going on for hours, and that there were crowds of people just pushing him to do something…The people were at the foot of the mountain, so it could be that the pillar of fire in the sky wasn’t visible to them, or it had gone away (this is conjecture, I’m not sure if its true or not)

    I wonder what caused the people to lose faith so quickly? Was it only because of the absence of Moses?

  13. I agree, there are so many lessons in these verses. When Aaron said, “I threw in the rings and out came this calf” it reminded me of times I have not accepted my own sin, but tried to water it down or shift the blame. Very convicting. Praise God for His Word to teach, encourage and convict us.

  14. How easy it is for us to get frustrated and discouraged ,with God and others, when things don’t happen within our timeline or the way we think they should happen. Lord, forgive us.

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

    Our idols may not be a golden calf, but idols can be anything that we give our lives to- anything that we place above God. For some that may be work, success, or wealth, others it may be electronics, video games, or TV, and for some it may be family or a ministry or a hobby (to list a few). Lord, forgive us.

    “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5

    “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:3-6

    God is faithful. His promises are yes and amen.

  15. Is this when God decided not to let them in the land, the ones who sinned against him> V 33?

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