Exodus 32 … Consider the Way He Commanded

Dissatisfied with the delay and concluding Moses is off schedule, the people impatiently turn aside to their own strategy rather than wait in faith.

“Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ Then the Lord spoke 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 [emphasis added]. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”” (32:3-4, 7-8)

Consider the Way He Commanded

“Then God spoke all these words, saying, 2 ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments,'” (Exodus 20:1-6).

* He alone is the LORD their God Who delivered them from bondage, proclaiming His Deity.

* There are to be no other gods before Him, asserting His Distinctiveness.

* He is a jealous God, declaring His Demand for fidelity. (Note: the Hebrew word translated in the Scriptures as “jealous” is only attributed to God, never to man. This word describes God’s divine and zealous faithfulness to His covenant people, requiring their fidelity in return.)

* He is righteous in His justice and lovingkindness, demonstrating His Demeanor.

How do we respond to the Way He Commanded?

His first commandment lays the foundation. An inaccurate understanding of the Way He Commanded will derail us from following every other commandment. Before we puff ourselves up and pat ourselves on the back, convinced we would never fashion a golden calf… Let us honestly assess our walk of faith.

The Israelites reverted to a default mode of worship, the cultural practice learned and experienced in Egypt. In their desire for answers now, and fear of the unknown, they returned to what they already knew, in a sense, what was comfortable.

In our impatience, we too can turn aside to what we know as comfortable and fashion our own golden calves. In all honesty before Him, let us ask ourselves, “LORD, what is our default mode, our golden calf?”

  • In our trials, do we wholly accept His Deity, His omnipotence and omniscience, to wait on Him alone as our LORD God, or do we fashion our golden calf by running to other people or things?
    • “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
      To the person who seeks Him.
      26 It is good that he waits silently
      For the salvation of the Lord,”
      (Lamentations 3:25-26).
  • In our thoughts and actions, do we honor His Distinctiveness and treat Him as high and set apart from all others, or do we fashion our golden calf by believing He must act according to our timetable or desires?
    • “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
      Be acceptable in Your sight,
      O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer,”
      (Psalm 19:14).
    •  “Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you,” (1 Samuel 12:24).
  • In our relationships and activities do we submit and humbly respond to His Demand for our loyal devotion to Him before all else, or do we fashion our golden calf with the lure of the lusts of the world, the flesh and pride?
    • “For your husband is your Maker,
      Whose name is the Lord of hosts;
      And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
      Who is called the God of all the earth,”
      (Isaiah 54:5).
    • “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world,” (1 John 2:16).
  • In His judgments, do we trust His Demeanor: His righteousness, lovingkindness and justice, or do we fashion our golden calf by judging Him according to our finite mind?
    • “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
      Lovingkindness and truth go before You,” [Psalm 89:5-8]

Today, may we carefully consider the Way He Commanded. Our golden calves can never stand before Him, they will be smashed and scattered; but they also are drunk in, and become a part of us.

(Note: In ancient times, extended families would typically reside together. This meant up to three or four generations might dwell in one household. When the Lord spoke of, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” (Exodus 20:5), it could have referred to the far-reaching consequences of unfaithfulness colliding with the family unit, rather than those yet to be born, or both.)

Whatever the exact intent of Exodus 20:5, we must never forget our sin will and does affect others, and it’s generally those who are closest to us who undergo the greatest impact.

Let us repent of anything we place before Him. He alone is God; may He alone consume us so that daily our lives would demonstrate praise and faithful commitment to only Him and the Way He Commanded.

  • “The heavens will praise Your wonders, O Lord;
    Your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
    For who in the skies is comparable to the Lord?
    Who among the sons of the mighty is like the Lord,
    A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones,
    And awesome above all those who are around Him?
    O Lord God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty Lord?
    Your faithfulness also surrounds You,” (Psalm 89:5-8).

Let’s Grow Together!

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