Thursday, May 5, 2016

Thursday - Exodus 32 - A VERY Close Call

The storyline of this chapter is simple. Moses had been gone for a long time and the people got restless. They didn't have a strong leader to point them in the right direction, so they went the wrong way... and quickly. They turned aside from the one true religion to some strange amalgamation of truth and error; sacrifice and sin; invisible God and golden gods. In God's sight it was spiritual infidelity. In Moses' and Joshua's sight it was a sensuous riot. And, strangely, in Aaron's sight...perhaps it was just inevitable.

There is an interesting theme of justice vs. mercy here. At first God was angry and even threatened to annihilate the whole lot of them. Moses pled for Him to be merciful... and, at least for a while, He was. Yet, when Moses saw the decadent display of iniquity for himself... he got mad too. He threw the tables of stone down and broke them, he reduced the idol to powder and forced the nation to drink water polluted with the gold dust, and then he sent the Levites out to execute the guilty (they killed 3000). But, the story is not over. Moses returned to the mount for the very purpose of making atonement for the remaining Israelites.  He even staked his own life in their defense. And, evidently as a result of Moses' intercession, God limited His reaction. He did not destroy them altogether, He only plagued them (Exodus 32:35).

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