Tuesday in the Third Week of Lent

Exodus 32:1-35

Forgiven for the Glory of God

“All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.”  That’s what they said, word for word.  So how did it come to pass that they fell so far so fast.  At the foot of Mount Sinai, they were terrified at the smoke, the thunder, the lightning, the trumpet sound.  They had said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die” (Exodus 20:19).  Now, just a few weeks later, if that long, they are demanding that Aaron make a god for them – and he did!  One of the more humorous passages in all the Bible is Aaron’s excuse before Moses: “They said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us’ … So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’  So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf” (emphasis added).  What is even more outrageous is that they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”  Aaron even went so far as to call the calf by God’s holy name, the “LORD,” when he proclaimed: “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.”

There is so much here we could discuss, but I will take two things in particular.  First, the passage says, “And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”  Paul refers to this in his first letter to the Corinthians (10:7) and to the Romans (1:18-32) when speaking of idolatry: Idolatry always leads to immorality.  Idolatry so blinds the mind that it perverts the heart.  Those who worship false gods experience a darkening of the mind and then lose all restraint.  The golden calf was not the God of the Ten Commandments.  When we create our own god, which is what idolatry is, we create one to our liking, one who will invite us to “play.”  Simply observe the world.

The second matter to notice is the basis for Moses’ intercession for the people.  When God threatens to destroy the Israelites, to what does Moses appeal that God might relent?  His glory.  Moses says in effect, “But what will the Egyptians say?  They will say that it was with evil intent that you brought them up out of the land of Egypt, to kill them.”  Moses makes no excuses for the people.  He doesn’t say that they didn’t know any better, or that it’s been a long time in the desert, or that God is expecting too much.  As far as Moses is concerned, they rightfully deserve to die.  But Moses appeals to the interest of God’s glory among the nations.  And for that reason alone, God relents.  Which teaches us this: God’s care for our salvation is not first and foremost about us, but about His glory.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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