God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God
Approximate Notes for Sunday Message; 2 March 2014; Exodus 32:1-14
Scriptures for this Sunday: Exodus 32:1-14
You can read it here: NIV2010
UMH555 – “Forward Through the Ages”
UMH378 – “Amazing Grace”
This is a fourth sermon in a series.
Link to the first sermon: Click here
Link to the second sermon: Click here
Link to the third sermon: Click here
Today’s reading is set at Mount Sinai.
Last week we talked about Hebrews crossing the Reeds Sea and setting out towards Mount Sinai. It took some time to get there.
We know that when they got there, Moses instructed the Hebrews to consecrate themselves by washing and fasting (Exodus 19:9b-25) and then he went up the mountain to receive instructions from God.
We know that the mountain was enveloped by thunder, billows of smoke and lightening (Exodus 19:16 – “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.”)
That is where today’s reading starts. In Exodus 32:1-4 we hear:
1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us godswho will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
“As for this fellow Moses…?” Isn’t it kinnda strange?
Last week we saw that leaving Egypt was not easy or pleasant. We know that Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh’s court nine times petitioning to let the Hebrews go and every time the Pharaoh refused and a plague would follow. I suspect that most of the Hebrews were not really involved in “negotiations.” From their perspective, Moses and Aaron went to talk to the Pharaoh and something unpleasant happened that added to their burden. Then they were instructed to have a feast, to put some sacrificial blood on the doorposts of their homes and they were spared the death of their firstborn. Egyptians came to them and urged them to leave (Exodus 12:31).
We know that the Hebrews were oppressed in Egypt. That being understood, Egypt was their home, the land where they grew up, the place where they had families, celebrated accomplishments, buried their grandparents and parents for 400 years. We can understand their discomfort and even anger at being uprooted and anxious as they faced the uncertainty of the journey from Egypt to Mt. Sinai and then to the Holy Land. There was a tug-o-war going in their hearts between being persecuted and staying with what was familiar and habitual.
So when Moses went up the mountain and seemed to disappear, they were scared, “As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him” Exodus 32:1).
We heard that the Israelites made an idol and worshipped it.
As we continue reading, we hear God speaking to Moses,
“7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 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.’