God, not “gods”

Published 7:39 pm Friday, September 17, 2010

Scripture: Exodus 32:1-35
Aim: To remind the pupil that there is no comparison between Jehovah God and the gods made up and worshipped by men—idols.
Golden Text: “They 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.” (Exodus 32:8)
We human beings are such foolish and sinful persons. How many times have we known the truth about something, turned away from the truth to a false idea, and given ourselves over to the false as opposed to the true. The reason we do such things is that we are at heart sinners who have the mistaken idea that “we are in control of our lives!” The reality of the matter is that we are not in control. God is in control over all things within the affairs of our lives.
God has given unto man liberty to exercise his God given abilities. Man may do what is right before God, or he may rebel against God and His way in order to do what he personally chooses to do. Generally, man chooses against God and His will for man because man is a sinner. His sense of right and wrong is all mixed up. God has revealed His truth in the Holy Scriptures.
I. Israel, in the wilderness, chose to worship a calf made of gold, rather than Jehovah God Who had led them with the cloud of His glory to bring them out of Egyptian bondage (Exodus 32:1-6). Jehovah led the people (about one and one half million) out of Egypt and brought them to Mt. Sinai. Jehovah came down on Mt. Sinai and spoke to the people the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). Jehovah then called Moses to come up the mountain which was filled with fire and smoke. There Jehovah was in the process of instructing Moses in His will for the Israelites. Down at the foot of the mountain the people asked Aaron to make a golden calf. Aaron gave in to their desires. Aaron made a calf from their gold (which God had given them when they left Egypt). They bowed down and called the calf their god which brought them out of Egypt! (How foolish can people be? The presence of God in fire and smoke hovering over Mt. Sinai. Moses and Joshua gone up into the mountain. The whole mountain burning with the fire of God, and Israel is making an idol of gold in order to worship it as their “god”! Foolish, foolish man!)
II. Jehovah responds by communication with Moses in the fiery mountain (Exodus 32:7-10). Jehovah informs Moses that the Israelites are worshipping a golden calf, declaring that the calf has brought them out of Egypt (vs. 7-8). Further, Jehovah declares that He will consume them in His wrath (vs. 9-10). Jehovah proposes to Moses that He will make Moses’ seed to be heir.
III. Moses’ plea with Jehovah on behalf of Israel (Exodus 32:11-14). First, he appeals to the grace of God. Jehovah had brought them out of Egypt (vs. 11). Second, he appeals to the glory of God. Should Jehovah destroy Israel, men would have the wrong view of Who God is (vs. 12). The perception would be that God was a wrathful god (vs. 12). Third, Moses reminded Jehovah that Israel was the promised “seed” (vs. 13). The truthfulness of Jehovah was at stake here. Fourth, Moses pleaded for the testimony of Jehovah before men (vs. 13). Men must have a true concept of just Who Jehovah God is, and what His abilities are in meeting His promises to men.
Jehovah repented of the destruction of the Israelites (vs. 14). He sends Moses and Joshua back down the mountain to deal with the sinful situation.
Let us remember that God is a God of grace and mercy, but also of judgment. Because of Israel’s continued sinning, Jehovah would finally let all males twenty years and up die in the wilderness. God is gracious, and God is also faithfully just!

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