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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY:

“ The Golden Calf readings... Are we so different from the Israelites? Do we make our own versions of "golden calves" today? Do we have idols that we worship? Money? Career? Popularity? Relationships? Addictions? Our Intelligence? Technology? Do these idols stand in the way of our worship of God? Do they stand in the way of our relationship with God? Do these idols defile us?…”

No, we are no different. The answer to the rest of the questions is yes. An idol can be anything that we might put before God in our lives. Out of all the idols named here, for me it would likely be “relationships,” in other words, being so in love with a woman that it borders on worship and where she captivates me to the point where I think of nothing but her. I know because I have experienced that and there is no other feeling that can be compared to it except being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. I want to be that passionate about God and that is how God wants us to be in our love for Him. Anything less than that is lukewarm. Idols compete with God for our affections and it could become a snare to us.


EXODUS 32:1-33:23

I can’t say that I have ever been “bored “ with being a Christian. There is nothing I would rather be doing than living for the Lord. Before I became a Christian I experienced much of what this world has to offer for excitement and nothing compares to what I have with Jesus Christ. I will admit that there have been periods when I was carnal, worldly and lukewarm but eventually I grew bored and disillusioned with those things and returned to the Lord. What I see as Israel’s problem in this passage was not “boredom” but impatience. They did not yet have the faith to wait on the Lord for direction and guidence but decided to try and do things their own way. There was also still a lot of Egypt yet in their hearts.

Moses is a type of Jesus Christ in this passage in that it says that he “…DELAYETH to come down out of the mount “ ( 32:1 ) and so the people became tired of waiting for him and “…the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play “ ( 32:6 ). Jesus in a parable also said there would be some of His servants who would say in their hearts “…My lord DELAYETH his coming; …” and that they would “…eat and drink, and be drunken “ ( Luke 12:45 ) as well and that His coming would catch them by surprise and unprepared.

In making the golden calf ( 32:4 ) they had already broken the first and the second commandments ( Exodus 20:3-5 ) of the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses and perhaps several of the others too before he even had descended from the mount. There was also sinful music and dancing in the camp ( 32:18-19 ). They were not making a joyful noise to the Lord as Israel was later exhorted to do in the Psalms of David; it was as Joshua said as the noise of war which pagans make. The dancing was quite different from the previous manner of Miriam and the women of Israel before the Lord ( Exodus 15:20-21 ).

Moses is an example of how the intercessory prayer of one righteous man can make a difference and sometimes even move God to spare a nation from judgment ( 32:11-14 ). Again, as the Scripture says, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much “ - James 5:16 ( KJV )

The passage of Moses in the cleft of the rock as the the Lord passed by him ( 33:21-23 ) inspired the old hymn ‘ He Hideth My Soul ‘ which was written by Fanny Crosby that I have sung in church on many Sundays:

HE HIDETH MY SOUL

A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.
Refrain:
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord,
He taketh my burden away,
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.
With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
And filled with His fullness divine,
I sing in my rapture, oh, glory to God!
For such a Redeemer as mine.
When clothed with His brightness transported I rise
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
I’ll shout with the millions on high.


MATTHEW 26:69-27:14

The betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot for thirty pieces of silver and the buying of the potter’s field ( 26:14-16; 27:3-10 ) was foretold by the prophet Zechariah:

“ And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.”

- Zechariah 11:12-13 ( KJV ).

In the King James Version it says that it was spoken by the prophet Jeremy, or Jeremiah ( 27: 9 ). Many skeptics and critics will point to this as a Bible contradiction. I must admit that I am also perplexed about it but I am not ready to concede that the Bible has errors. I am pointing it out so we won’t be caught off guard if unbelievers confront us with it. Whenever unbelievers have brought up alleged discrepancies to me in the past I have always found that there is a reasonable explanation for it. The best explanation that I have read of so far is that the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Zechariah were recorded on the same scroll but that the Jews viewed it as one book. The alleged discrepancy doesn’t change the fact that the betrayal of Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament.

When Jesus stood silent before Pontius Pilate and his accusers ( 27:11-14 ). He fulfilled another Old Testament messianic prophecy:

“ He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

- Isaiah 53:7 ( KJV )


PSALM 33:1-11

In this passage we see that music is a form of worship ( vv.2-3 ). Praise and worship music is what God likes to hear and that was why God created music to begin with. As we saw in Exodus 32:18 there is sinful, pagan music too which angered not only God but Moses as well… However, “loud “ music ( v.3 ) is okay :)


PROVERBS 8:33-36

Here the importance of daily watching and waiting for God to reveal His Word to us is stressed ( v.33-34 ). This what the children of Israel had failed to do when they grew impatient because Moses did not come down from the mount after a number of days and so hastily made the golden calf that they might look to it as their god.

Hello Everyone,

Bill--thanks for taking time to share your thoughts...I particularly enjoyed your comments on idols and reading through the beautiful words of that old hymn.

Interesting comment about relationships becoming an idol--especially "falling in love." As a teen, I think that I was prone to this kind of idol worship--seeking "the man" who would make everything else right in my world. As a teacher, I've seen people make idols of their children too which ain't pretty on either side of the matter.

I've fashioned idols out of many things in my life--food, safety, control, perfectionism, relationships, knowledge. Nothing will ever satisfy our hunger except Him.

On a completely different note, I noticed today that in Exodus, the commandments were written on BOTH sides of the stone tablets.

"Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written." -Exodus 32:15

I never caught that before--don't think it has any "deep theological significance"!! except it does point out that I have many preconceptions about the Word. I need to come to these readings with fresh eyes and an alert heart, so that I don't "read things" into the text (or "out of" the text for that matter!):

I also found the dialogue between Moses and Aaron fascinating. Aaron kind of backtracks to blame the people. He claims that he just threw their gold into the fire and out popped a calf:

"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." Exodus 32:24

...kind of reminds me conversations I've had with my kids when they get into trouble ; )

It also points to the responsibility that leaders have to encourage and direct people in righteous ways. Aaron had an opportunity to exhort the people to wait on Moses & the Lord, but he blew it:

"And Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?" And Aaron said, "Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil."-Exodus 32:21-22

Yes, people are prone to evil, particularly when they lack godly leadership (Jesus clearly saw this when he commented that the people are "like a sheep without a shepherd"). But, that doesn't negate the responsibility that leaders have to step up to the plate in word and example.

Leadership is tough stuff and I'll admit that a piece of me cringes when I read that NT passage about leaders being MORE accountable. Leading people isn't typically much fun, but boy is it important kingdom work!

One more comment, then I'm off. I love this passage from today's psalm:

"The earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD." -Psalm 33:5

The Lord is gracious and merciful to ALL--evidence of His love is all around us IF we take the time to see His hand. Sometimes it shouts, sometimes it whispers: Lord, give us eyes to see it today,

I think what we can get from the story of the Israelites is that no matter how many miracles GOD has done in our life’s or how much we have grown knowing GOD. There still a need for each of us human beings to keep our communication consistent with GOD.

CHRIST says in Mathew 26:41 “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

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