Bible Study Notes on Exodus 32:1-16 – 20190326

WritingIIIExodus 32:1  “…when the people…”
So much wrong with this.  Out of two million people, how many actually had part in this mess?  How is it that they could so quickly turn to the idea of creating other gods?

2  “And Aaron said to them…”
And how does the brother of Moses fail to have any kind of backbone after what he has seen and experienced?  The only thing I can think of is that he was afraid the people would stone him.  So many questions we can only speculate.

2  “…the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives…”
Items which God had allowed them to take from the Egyptians for their wealth.  And which were also to be used in the creation of the Tabernacle utensils and to gold plate the furnishings.

4  “…he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool…”
Aaron will say later that he threw the gold into the fire and the calf came out.  It is clear he did the deed.  How sad.

5  “…Aaron made a proclamation…”
He declared a feast to the LORD.  I wonder if they were trying to make the calf a representation of God?  Idolatry is always man trying to control his god, whether it’s an actual idol or an idea or himself.  Commentaries agree that at least Aaron was making the connection between the idol and God.  But that in no way excuses his or their actions.  One commentary also brought out the tendency of some Christian sects to want to use representations of Christ as part of worship, claiming they only worship Christ Himself.  But they’re doing the same thing the Israelites did.  God wants no physical representation of Himself, period.  To do otherwise brings in the aspect of man’s control.

6  “…and rose up to play”
Wasn’t playing in the fun sense, but heathen behavior of the sexual sense.  Probably things they’d seen in Egypt.  This would be a problem from which the Israelites would not rid themselves for several hundred years, not until the captivities and exile.

8  “…This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt”
A slap in the face of God.  But there’s no difference in giving His worship to an idol and taking it for ourselves, which is what we’ve done in our country today.  Our country was founded by men who knew they only succeeded because of the grace of God.  We have lost that.  We’ve come to believe we succeeded by our own intelligence and skill.  We are mistaken, and God is close to showing us our error.  He has been merciful for over two hundred years, but I’m afraid His mercy and patience are about to end.  Perhaps it has ended already.

10  “…let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation”
This is a hard statement to handle.  God is speaking as a man.  Surely He knew this was going to happen, and we know He doesn’t change His mind.  So, why is He saying this unless it is to test/grow Moses in some way?  Perhaps He needed Moses to see and understand His true greatness.  That He was completely real and wanted a relationship with His people, not just some uncaring entity that would change with the wind.  He may also have wanted Moses to realize his own thoughts on the subject.  We sometimes feel insecure about what we believe until we’re forced to stand up and speak it.  Moses had no power over God, so His statement for Moses to let Him alone was obviously an open door.  And the last statement was the supreme enticement.  He offered to make a great nation out of Moses as He had Abraham.  That in itself is contrary to what we know of God.  He doesn’t change His mind, and He keeps all His promises.  But the action had the desired effect.  Moses stepped up.

11  “Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God…”
He used the two arguments that came from God Himself.  God had promised Abraham He would make Him a great nation and give him a land, and He was the God strong enough to keep that promise.  The promise He had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And His power He had shown through His interaction with the Egyptians.  Moses argued that to destroy the Israelites now would give the Egyptians reason to doubt His ultimate power.  And he reminded God of His promise to Abraham.  In doing this, Moses reaffirmed God’s attributes to himself.  Sometimes we have to be reminded of what we already know, to see through the flotsam of life and the enemy.

15  “…the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand…”
In hindsight, probably not a good thing.  Moses’s anger will get the better of him.  Then again, it could be argued that the people needed to see that they were in real danger of destroying the covenant with God.  Of course, the covenant was based on God’s person, not on the actions of the people, but they could be removed and the next generation brought up to take their place.

16  “Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.”
God created the tables and wrote on them Himself.  I’d forgotten they were written on both sides.  Visual representations can only show one side, so they try to get all ten on there, but that’s not accurate.

I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word.  May it accomplish what He desires.  Please feel free to comment or post questions.  Thanks for reading!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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