Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 32:19-20 (NIV)
When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.
Exodus 32:19-20 (MSG)
And that’s what it was. When Moses came near to the camp and saw the calf and the people dancing, his anger flared. He threw down the tablets and smashed them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf that they had made, melted it down with fire, pulverized it to powder, then scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.
“And as soon as he approached the camp and he saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned; and he threw the tablets from his hands and smashed them at the foot of the mountain. Then Moses took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it on the surface of the water and made the Israelites drink it.” -AMPLIFIED
We find Moses heeding God’s direction to hasten back down the mountain to deal with the people who had made a very bad choice. On the way down the mountain Moses meets up with Joshua, who had been patiently waiting for him. (Remember, it had been 40 days and 40 nights, but Joshua had been faithfully waiting for the return of Moses from his conference with God.)
Joshua voiced concern to Moses when he heard the sound coming up the mountain from the camp. “Now when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of battle in the camp.” But Moses said, “It is not the sound of the cry of victory, Nor is it the sound of the cry of defeat; But I hear the sound of singing.” -Exodus 32:17-18 (AMP)
Moses came down that mountain expecting trouble, but he really had no idea how bad it truly was. As he and Joshua approached the camp he saw the calf, he saw the people dancing and he realized how bad things unequivocally had become. The people were totally out of control. “Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to the point of being an object of mockery among their enemies…” -Exodus 32:25 (AMP)
Moses was furious with the people; so angry that he threw the very tablets that God had given him which contained the Ten Commandments. “Moses turned around and came down from the mountain, carrying the two tablets of The Testimony. The tablets were written on both sides, front and back. God made the tablets and God wrote the tablets—engraved them.” Those very same tablets were smashed into minute pieces at the foot of the mountain. (Which I am sure made Moses even angrier.)
Moses was fuming. He had one thing on his mind at this point in time; destroy the idol, this abomination before the Lord God. Scripture tells us Moses took the calf, burned it in the fire, ground it into powder, scattered the powder over the surface of the water and forced the Israelites to drink that gold powdered water. The idol is destroyed, the gold had been defiled and the people were now punished.
God had commanded the people that they were to have no other gods. He had reminded them that it was He who had brought them out of Egypt. He made quite clear that they were not to make an idol out of anything. We see that they did exactly as He had commanded them not to do and God’s anger burned against them. He had warned them that He was a jealous God and He would not share His attention with any other God. They knew, they had been warned.
Moses had good reason for his righteous anger. He had been in the presence of God Almighty. He knew of need for righteousness and holiness. Tomorrow we will find that Moses calls for the people to make a choice. The consequences of that choice were going to be good or bad depending on how they chose and they were very serious consequences too. Be careful that you do not allow any other person or thing to take God’s place in your life. There could be serious consequences.
Lord, help me to keep you as the top priority of my life. I do not want anyone or thing taking your place in my life. I know you are a jealous God. You have made it quite clear that you will not share your place in my life. You, God, are the Great “I AM”, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega and there is no other God, but you. Please help me always to be sure that you are at the center of my life.