“Genuine repentance must bear the seal of a corrected life.” - Lewis F. Korns
We come to the most tragic scripture in the book of Exodus. Where Exodus 25 showed us the genuine desire of God’s people to obey God through their freewill offering, Exodus 32 shows us the sinfulness of Israel through their offering to idolatry. Truly the Sermon on the Mount fact, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” - Matthew 6:21, rings true. We could speak of the beautiful incense of chapter 30, or the equipping of God’s people to the work of God in chapter 31, but it is without question one of the darkest days of Israel’s history in chapter 32.
Mount Sinai is smoking and thundering with the presence of God. For days Moses has been receiving the commandments directly from God, and the people have grown restless. With impatience brewing, they elect to take the matter of worship into their own hands. Though their intentions may have been noble (we are not really told). The truth remains that they went about worship completely wrong. Their idea of worship and praise contradicted the very commandments etched in stone by the finger of God. God’s anger is so kindled against Israel that He intends to kill them all and start over again with Moses.
Moses intervenes and prays on behalf of the people. Joshua describes the scene as “warfare” and singing that at first sounded like they were being conquered or overcome. The people were naked, and worshiping this golden calf. Moses in anger breaks the stone tablets, grinds the calf to dust and tells the people to drink it. 3,000 people died who were unrepentant and against the Lord. It truly was a black eye on Israel, and God plagued the people because of the calf.
Looking at the children of Israel, we can’t help but feel some anger and disbelief that such blessed people could behave so sinfully. God had delivered them, brought them through the Red Sea, provided their every need, and currently is smoking on the mountain beside them! With all these wonders in place, they still chose to sin. But, before we become judge, jury, and executioner of Israel, we need to take a hard look at our own lives.
We have been blessed as Christians far greater than Israel ever was. And we have a more sure witness of God than if a smoking mountain was sitting beside us… it’s called the Word of God. Indeed the sin of Israel was inexcusable, but how could the child of God who has been so richly blessed by the hand of God, willfully sin against God. You may be reading this devotional this morning and have some gross sin going on in your life.
Outwardly, you might have it all together, but inwardly there is sin and filth. Sin is not something to take lightly, and we know God is greatly concerned with sin in His children’s life. If you have known sin that you are unwilling to repent and get right, know that God loves you enough to punish you for it. He wants you to get right. Will you repent? Will you seek help from someone else if you need it? Will you come back to God? Today make a commitment to never allow sin to fester and grow in you life. Confess it and forsake it TODAY.
Daily Scripture Reading
Exodus 30 - 32
(Follow this Scripture Reading Plan to accompany this devotion and read through your Bible in a year)
“And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.”