Having other gods is serious business. For most of us our god is in the mirror. It is hard for us to stop thinking about ourselves and easy for us to obsess about every little details of our lives. The Israelites had left Israel and found themselves at the foot of Mount Sinai. When they create the Golden Calf they create a new way to worship the gods who brought them up from Egypt. The result of such flagrant law breaking is that God’s people suddenly become Moses’ people. God refuses to walk with them any more.
If we are in Christ God always walks with us. We do not endure the consequences that Israel endured at Sinai for breaking the covenant. It should cross our minds what kind of God we have relegated to second place when we spend hours fawning over ourselves in the mirror. We should be glad that God no longer decrees that we grind the mirror to dust and drink it.
1And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
2And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
3And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
4And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
5And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.
6And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
7And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:
8They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
9And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
10Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
11And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
12Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
14And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
15And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
16And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.
17And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.
18And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear.
19And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
20And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
21And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
22And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.
23For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
24And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.
25And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
26Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
27And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.
28And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
29For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.
30And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.
31And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.
32Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
33And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
34Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.
35And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.
1And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:
2And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:
3Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way.
4And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments.
5For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.
6And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.
7And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.
8And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.
9And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.
10And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.
11And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
12And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.
13Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
14And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
15And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
16For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
17And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.
18And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.
19And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
20And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
21And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
22And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
- Where was Moses when Israel decided he wasn’t coming back?
- Who administrated the making of the calf?
- What was the punishment for making the calf?
- How did Moses argue with God?
- How thankful are you that you are not under the law like the Israelites?
- What did the people give to Aaron to make the calf with?
- What did Moses break?
- What was Aaron’s explanation about where the calf came from?
- How did God change his mind?
- What happened to Moses’ face?
- What do you think was the tone in the camp while Moses was gone?
- Why did Aaron make the calf?
- What did breaking the tablets symbolize?
- Why does Aaron lie about where the calf came from?
- How can God change his mind?
- How do you react when your spiritual leaders are hard to get hold of?
- What pressures did you experience to ‘conform’ over Christmas?
- Can your relationship with Christ be broken?
- How can people see the presence of God on your face?
- When was your last time alone with Jesus?