Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 32:7-8 (NIV)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’
Exodus 32:7-8 (MSG)
God spoke to Moses, “Go! Get down there! Your people whom you brought up from the land of Egypt have fallen to pieces. In no time at all they’ve turned away from the way I commanded them: They made a molten calf and worshiped it. They’ve sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are the gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt!’”
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” -AMPLIFIED
Today we will look at God’s response to the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel when they became impatient and restless waiting on the return of Moses. Yesterday we looked at the fact that Moses had been on the top of the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights in conference with God. The people became discouraged and restless in their waiting. Instead of patiently waiting they demanded that Aaron make them a god to lead them and Aaron foolishly did as they said. In fact, once this “false god” was created the people sat down to indulge themselves in revelry.
God’s anger burned toward the children of Israel and He was justly angry. The people had disobediently done exactly as He had warned them not to do. They acted impatiently, rebelliously, and faithlessly toward the Lord their God; turning to false gods. In fact, God was so angry He threatened to annihilate the people in order to start over fresh with Moses.
We can get a very good idea of how angry God was by His words to Moses, “God spoke to Moses, “Go! Get down there! Your people whom you brought up from the land of Egypt have fallen to pieces. In no time at all they’ve turned away from the way I commanded them: They made a molten calf and worshiped it. They’ve sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are the gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt!’” God said to Moses, “I look at this people—oh! what a stubborn, hard-headed people! Let me alone now, give my anger free reign to burst into flames and incinerate them. But I’ll make a great nation out of you.” -Exodus 32:7-10 (MSG)
Did the people deserve to be punished for their sin and rebellion? Yes, they did, but we find Moses interceding on the behalf of the people. We must consider God’s reaction to what was happening. God’s words actually were intended to convey the great danger that the people of Israel had gotten themselves into.
Bob Deffinbaugh shares these thoughts, “Moses knew that God’s threatened action (of destroying Israel) and His offer to Moses (of making a new nation through him) would have been inconsistent with His character and His covenant with Israel. The Egyptians would have taken pleasure in the fact that the Israelites were destroyed, which was precisely what they had attempted to do. The character of God would have been demeaned, for God would not have kept His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Messiah could not come through Moses, for he was of the tribe of Levi, while Messiah must come through Judah. Thus, the words which God spoke were intended to stimulate Moses to intercede for his people, and thus to bring about forgiveness.”
God loves us and His purpose is to draw us in closer relationship with Him. Oft times He may lay someone upon our hearts to intercede for; this is not only for their benefit, but also for ours. This was a growing experience for Moses and it can be a growing experience for us as well.
Lord, please forgive me for those times that I have displayed a rebellious, stubborn, restless attitude. You have called me to be true to you. You also desire for me to be an intercessor for my brothers and sisters; help me to do just that. When you lay someone on my heart; help me to stand in the gap for them as if I were doing it for me. Just as Moses was able to make a difference by standing in the gap for the people, so can I. I am reminded that every promise you have made in your Word you have kept. Thank you for your faithfulness to your children.