Daily D – Exodus 32:1-6

by | Jan 28, 2024 | Daily D | 0 comments

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Exodus 32:1-6  When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make gods for us who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has happened to him!” Aaron replied to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.” He took the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf. Then they said, “Israel, these are your gods, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of it and made an announcement: “There will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow.” Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to party. (CSB)

What kind of religion have you created for yourself? Or, giving the benefit of the doubt, what religion are you tempted to create? Making up a religion all about you and your desires allows you to seek satisfaction in whatever manner you want. This is what the popular crowd means when they talk about Manifestation. 

If your religion is all about you, you have a really puny god. 

Moses and David had different ideas. Moses reminded God of his promises, his nature, and his character. David freely confessed and joyfully declared, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Or, “I lack nothing.” Or, “I have all I need.” 

Aaron and the people made up their own religion. Their god was a party god. I’m not sure how a golden calf became the symbol of party time, but there you have it. They could eat, drink, and be merry and call it worship. It wasn’t the golden calf they were worshiping, it was their self-centered desires. 

If you want to make a lot of money, tell people what they want to hear. Give them new commandments declaring they are liberated from all the bonds of rules and laws handed down through the centuries. Tell them they can do whatever they want and no one can judge them for their choices. 

Verse 6 says they ate, drank, and partied. Welcome to man-made religion. The names change, the uniforms evolve, but the same old same old message, the same old same old temptation is there: Be your own god. Fancy yourself smarter than god. Remind people they are also gods. Eat the fruit, baby. Eat it all. 

God then tested Moses. He told Mo he was going to wipe out the rebels partying down below. He told Mo he would start all over with him. Just think of it: Moses would be the original everyone else would attempt to live up to. Moses would be the one venerated from generation to generation. His family would outshine Abraham’s. Mo would be the star of the show. 

Moses was wiser than that. He knew God’s plan and purpose was bigger than him. He knew how he had failed. He knew he would fail again soon enough. He knew no good story could ever be all about him. He also knew God’s heart and mind, his nature and character. Even more, he knew what God was doing in this point in history to bless the whole world. 

Moses reminded God of his purpose and his promises. He demonstrated how you and I are to respond when the tempter comes with half-truths about ambition, approval, and appetite. What tripped up Eve and Adam in the Garden was in play again on that day. The people failed. Moses did not.

Moses understood the ambition to singular greatness was a highway leading to destruction and devastation that was the exact opposite of the heart of God. 

Moses understood the longing for approval had already been granted, and nothing he could do could make God love him any more. 

Moses understood the hunger for more was a temptation leading him to become his own provider when God had remarkably demonstrated how he abundantly provides wherever he guides.

In other words, Moses behaved the way we should behave when tempted to become our own provider, our own standard for excellence, and our own desire to be known, adored, and feared. 

He chose better than Eve and Adam. 

One last observation is in order. Verses 31 and 32 show us part of our priestly responsibilities for one another. Moses, after setting things right in the camp, “returned to the LORD” in prayer.

So Moses returned to the Lord and said,
“Oh, these people have committed a grave sin; they have made a god of gold for themselves.
Now if you would only forgive their sin.
But if not, please erase me from the book you have written.”

He interceded for the rebellious people. He asked for God’s mercy. He sought God’s forgiveness. He aligned his own fate with theirs. He wanted for these rebels what God wanted. God wanted to take this stiff-necked rabble and use them to show the world how good he is. Moses wanted in on this humanly impossible opportunity. He knew nothing is too hard for God. 

That’s the difference between our puny gods and God, isn’t it? Our puny gods always ultimately fail. God never fails. He can do anything but fail, even when he is working with self-centered rebels like us who often choose one more bite of the apple rather than fleeing the temptation. 

I will go with God who never fails and who loves helping failures like me, and you, begin again more intentionally. 

Our Father, thank you for who you are. You are perfect in every way. You never fail. You take people like us and use us to show others how good you are. When we are tempted to make everything always all about us, remind us how destructive that is for us and for everyone else. When we are tempted like this, remind us of your purpose for our lives and for this world. What you desire for us is better than anything we could desire for ourselves. How could we ever consider aligning our hearts with puny gods when we can know and experience you? Amen. 

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