News & Updates
 
Moses And The Golden Calf

Moses And The Golden Calf

Moses

MOSES AND THE GOLDEN CALF

By James L. Thornton


In This Study We Will Be Taking A Look At The Making And Worshipping Of The Golden Calf By The Children Of Israel. This Was A Very Serious Transgression On The Part Of Aaron And The People And God Declared To Moses That He Was Going To Wipe Them Off The Face Of The Earth.                              

In Our Study We Will Concentrate On Moses' Direct Appeal To God On Behalf Of The People. I Feel That This Appeal By Moses Saved The Nation Of Israel, As It Was At That Time, From Extinction. We Will Follow The Steps That Moses Took To Reconcile Them To God, Listen To His Conversation With God, And Most Of All Learn From His Love Of The People, And Devotion To God.

In Our First Reading Moses And Joshua Had Been On The Mountain Where God Had Given Him The Two Tables Of Stone On Which He Had Engraved The Ten Commandments. Moses Alone Had Ascended To The Top And Joshua Had Waited For Him Somewhere On The Mountain.

Exodus 32:15. And Moses turned, and went down the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.

16. And The Tables Were The Work Of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

The Tables Were Shaped By The Same Power by which The Commandments were inscribed.

 

Written On Stone, One of The Most Enduring Substances.

 

Some of the stone inscriptions still exist which most certainly predates Abraham.

 

The second set of tables may exist somewhere and may one day be discovered under The Mounds Of Babylon, or in the Bed Of The Euphrates River.

Today God writes in the fleshly tables of the heart of men. (2 Corinthians 3:3)

 If God could write in stone he most certainly can write in the fleshly tables of the heart.

 

The human heart is the most stubborn of all materials, and difficult to impress permanently.

In scripture we read, Moses is descending the mountain with the two tables in his hands.

Joshua joins him about half way down the mountain and the two descend together.

Soon the sounds of the festivity which was going on in the camp reached theirs ears.

Joshua, a warrior, mistaking the nature of the shouts, suggested that fighting was in progress.

But God had already revealed to Moses what was actually happening. (Exodus 32:7-14)

Moses had already prayed and intervened for the sake of this people. (Exodus 32:11-14)

So Moses descends in gloom, even after the most glorious experience of his life, Forty days in the presence of God.

Moses did not know whether his prayer of intercession had moved The Heart Of God or not.

As Moses and Joshua came into view of the camp what a sight greeted their eyes.

A disorderly crowd, stripped of their clothes, were singing choruses and dancing around A Golden Calf which Aaron had made.

The sights and sounds were those of a dissolute orgy.

Moses was struck with horror, and in his indignation dashed the Two Tables of stone to the ground. They were broken into fragments.

The people, he felt, were utterly unworthy of the Holy Laws which he was bringing them.

For this act of his, destroying the Two Tables, he is never blamed or reprehended.

Moses, no doubt, expected God to destroy them because he had not told Moses whether he would "Turn From His Fierce Wrath" or not.

But in Moses' intercession we see a power, a restraining power, one which can restrain God.

Exodus 32:10a.(God speaking to Moses) Now therefore let me alone….

Moses did not take this as a command, but rather as a suggestion.

Like his ancestor of old, Jacob, when he wrestled with God and he said, "Let me go, for the day breaketh." Jacob answered, "Not before you bless me." (Genesis 32:26)

Moses was not intended to take the command as absolute.

Like Jacob, Moses wrestled with God and prevailed.

What Follows Is A Story Of Judgment And Mercy

 

The children of Israel were guilty of a terrible sin, and the judgment of God was fully expected by Moses.

We will follow the steps taken by Moses to avert them from being consumed by God's wrath.

WE CAN CALL THIS MOSES' FINEST HOUR

Moses' roll as mediator is exceeded by only one other, The Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Four separate acts of intercession, By Moses, are recorded which brings about the Restoration Of Israel.

While Moses was in attendance with God on Mt. Sinai, and while God was giving him instructions concerning The Tabernacle, The Children Of Israel were fashioning A Golden Calf and worshiping it in a wild frenzy or naked dancing and singing.

 

God in his Omniscience saw them, and his wrath was kindled to the point of consuming them. (Exodus 32:10)

 

God informed Moses of the things which were going on in the valley, and of his intentions to destroy the Nation of Israel. (Exodus 32:7-10)

Think for a moment what would have been the result of this action if God had done as he was committing himself to do.

Gone would have been the Covenant which God had made with Abraham, renewed with Isaac and Jacob.

 

Gone would have been The Blessings, Signs and Wonders and Miracles of Deliverance of Egypt.

God would have undone his work.

Gone would have been The Ten Commandments and The Law.

Gone would have been The Lineage through which The Savior Of The Word was to be born.

But it would have taken God only a few hundred years to bring another nation to fulfill all these promises.

 

 

GOD HAS TIME------ALL THE TIME IT TAKES

Like a potter, when the clay has become to hard to mold, he casts it aside to get a new piece.

 

God Was Ready To Cast Israel Aside.

Exodus 32:10. Now therefore LET ME ALONE, that I my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of THEE A GREAT NATION.

 

What God is saying, "LET THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL GO, AND LET THE CHILDREN OF MOSES INHERIT THE PROMISE.

Moses sets aside, without taking notice of, the most glorious offer ever made to man…. "I WILL MAKE OF THEE A GREAT NATION."

 

THIS WAS MOSES' GREATEST TEST

It tested whether he loved his own glory more that he loved the brethren who were under his charge.

 

HE ENDURED IT NOBLY

The first step Moses took to appease God's wrath and bring about The Restoration of Israel.

Exodus 32:11a. And Moses besought the Lord his God……..

 

This is the First Intercessory Prayer which Moses prayed on the behalf of his brethren.

We must remember that Moses prayed this prayer before he saw for himself the awful spectacle which presently was taking place in the valley.

l. He reminded God that they were his own people whom he had brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

 

2. He tells God that the Egyptians would say that God had brought them out and then slew them.

 

3. He reminded God of the Covenant that he had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. How their seed would multiple as the stars in number.

 

 

4. He asked God to TURN FROM YOUR WRATH, repent of this evil against thy people. (Exodus 32:11-14)

 

 

At this petition God stayed his wrath. Moses was unaware of this.

 

 

 

BUT MERCY TO THE UNRENEWED ONLY MEANS DELAYED JUDGMENT

Exodus 32:34c. nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.

 

After this intercessory prayer Moses descends the mountain with the tables in his hand.

 

 

Upon seeing the spectacle for himself, Moses' own anger waxed hot, and, he took swift action of his own.

The very first thing he did was to destroy The Idol, the thing which was at the center of The Abomination.

Exodus 32:20. And he took the Calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the Children Of Israel drink of it.

 

Only when The Abomination was removed, and its destruction complete, would he turn his attention to other points.

Moses then turned his attention to Aaron. He had led them into a great sin. At least he had assisted in it.

We hear Moses venting his anger upon Aaron.

Exodus 32:21.And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?

Aaron's humility is extreme, and the result of a consciousness of guilt.

Exodus 32:22a. And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my Lord wax hot…

He no where else addresses Moses as "My Lord."

But he would not acknowledge himself in fault.

He must excuse himself. Aaron laid the blame on others.

It was the people's fault, not his;

Do not we all, when we are confronted with our faults,

Seek to shift the blame of them elsewhere?

On the people with whom we live?

We say the Society is corrupt, "Set On Mischief."

This is wrong, We know: But, "Everyone does it.

We are all the victims of our social surroundings,

It is not we who are in fault,

But the crowd that pushes us on.

It's customs are wrong, We know; but it is too strong for us.

We must conform to its ways.

They were, he says, "Set On Mischief."

There is no use in resisting them.

Men's plea is, they were brought into contact with people who dragged them, almost forced them into evil courses.

If circumstances had been different, They say, It would never have happened.

As if a man did not to a large extent,

Make his own circumstances,

Choose his own companions,

 

Construct his own way of life.

The "Circumstances" which lead to sin are usually circumstances which we might easily have avoided, if we had chosen to do so.

As Aaron might have avoided making the mould, or even asking for the ornaments.

IT JUST HAPPENED,

"I Threw the Gold into the fire, and There came out this calf."

Aaron barely escaped with his life, most likely, because he was so reluctant to admit guilt and seek forgiveness.

 

Moses severely rebuked Aaron, yet interceded for him as we read in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 9:20: And THE LORD WAS ANGRY WITH AARON to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.

After dealing with Aaron, Moses severely chastised Israel in which three thousand were slain.

At this time Moses thought that the sin was so great that RECONCILLIATION MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE.

 

Exodus 32:30. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the People, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I go unto the Lord; PERADVENTURE I SHALL MAKE AN ATONEMENT FOR YOUR SIN."

He though of the impossibility of ransom.

Yet Moses would not give up, He would go to God again on their behalf.

THE SECOND INTERCESSION

This time the prayers take on a different tone after Moses came face to face with the terribleness of their sins.

He was looking at it from God's standpoint of abhorring this sin.

Another thing, as yet the people had not even acknowledged their sin.

There can be no reconciliation without remorse, without repentance, and acceptance of God's condition of restoration.

It is not as though the people did not know the depths of their sin, because only days before they had agreed to the conditions of THE NEW COVENANT which God had made with them. (Exodus 19:7-8)

We cannot know THE DEPTHS OF MOSES' FEELINGS when he went before God THE SECOND TIME.

He had just come through a very humiliating experience, and an unexpected one.

The things he said were almost as THE EXPRESSIONS OF A HEART BESIDE ITSELT WITH HOLY GRIEF.

With the Image Of The Golden Calf, the reveling and rioting of the people, and his own brother so deeply involved in a broken covenant, all this so deeply imbedded in his chest.

The first words which came from his stammering, ashamed lips were,

OH, THIS PEOPLE HAVE SINNED A GREAT SIN (Exodus 32:31)

He offered no excuse for what Aaron had done.

Moses, who on the THE FIRST INTERCESSION, made not the slightest reference to the people's sin. IS NOW FOUND, on account of that sin, BENDING HIMSELF IN THE UTMOST SUBMISSION BEFORE GOD.

Exodus 32:32a. "Yet now, if thou wilt forgive, their sin…"

It is not the cry of a people weeping and wailing, returning in penitence that he bears before God.

 

They had not sent him, they had not make him a spokesman of their behalf.

IF ONLY THEY HAD SHOWN SOME FORM OF REMORSE

But as yet they did not even show any indication that they comprehended the near and dreadful peril they faced.

We can learn from this that we get no practical good from the advocacy of Jesus, UNLESS IN FAITH AND EARNESTNESS, WE MAKE HIM OUR ADVOCATE.

ATONEMENT OFFERED…

Exodus 32:32. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin..; AND IF NOT, BLOT ME, I PRAY THEE, OUT OF THY BOOK, which thou hast written.

THE BOOK OF LIFE--THE BOOK OF GOD'S WRITING.

This is not merely a resister of those who happen to be alive at any given time.

It contains the list of the righteous, and ensures to those whose name are written therein, life before God, first in the earthly kingdom, and then eternal life.

Moses is declaring his willingness--nay his wish--that God would visit on him the guilt of his people, both in this world, and in the next, so that they could be forgiven.

The Apostle Paul had a similar burst of feeling. (Romans 9:1-3)

Both were willing, felt willing, at any rate, to sacrifice themselves and their future for their countrymen 

Of all the noble acts in Moses' life this is perhaps the noblest.

Our Lord says, "Greater Love Hath No Man Than This, That A man Lay Down His Life For His Friends." (John 15:13)

BUT TO INCLUDE ETERNITY!! NEVER ENDING ETERNITY!! OUT OF YOUR BOOK!!

 

I do not believe any of us can ever approach the feeling that Moses and Paul had at the time they made such statements.

It was a stupendous proposal to make; an extraordinary act of devotion.

What a wondrous love which poured out of their hearts for their people.

IF THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES FOR REDEMPTION, "GOD I WILL GIVE IT."

 

"If My People Perish, I Wish To Perish With Them," Moses is saying.

 

It is true that the spirit of sacrifice is required to sanctify prayer. He agonized forty days and forty nights. (Deuteronomy 9:18)

But God Would Not Let Moses, Or Paul, Pay The Ransom For Sin.

This was done at Calvary By The Lamb.

Revelations 5:1-10. This passage tells us that they searched through Heaven and Earth and no man was worthy. BUT THE LAMB PREVAILED, and was worthy to redeem men to GOD BY HIS BLOOD.

But even though God would not accept the offer of so great a sacrifice,

HE DID ACCEPT THE SPIRIT OF THE PROPOSAL.

God reversed the sentence of judgment he had proclaimed against Israel and would allow them to continue on to land of promise.

However God had decided that he would not go with them, but would commission an Angel to go in his stead.

 

Exodus 32:32b. Mine angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.

Mercy to the unrenewed only means delayed punishment.

God told Moses that it would be best for them if he did not go with them.

 

Exodus 33:3b ….For I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiff necked people: lest I consume thee in the way.

God said that they were a "STIFF NECKED PEOPLE," or rebellious, because as yet no sign of remorse had been shown by the people.

But when Moses brought the news that GOD HAD DISOWNED THEM,

They showed THE FIRST SIGN OF REPENTANCE.

Exodus 33:1a.And the Lord said unto Moses, depart, and go up hence, THOU AND THE PEOPLE WHICH THOU HAST BROUGHT UP OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT.

In this verse we see God Dissociating himself from them. "Not my people, but, THE PEOPLE."

2a. And I will send an Angel before thee…..

3b. …For I Will Not Go Up In The Midst Of Thee;…..

4. And when the people heard these evil tidings, THEY MOURNED: and no man did put on him his ornaments.

 

When they heard that God's presence would be withdrawn for them, they mourned.

THIS IS THE FIRST SIGN OF REMORSE

What real satisfaction is there in existence except his presence?

Whom have we in heaven but him?

Who is there upon earth that we can desire in comparison with him?

IN HIM IS LIFE

 

In his presence is fullness of joy, and at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalms 16:11)

 

IF WE LOSE HIM, WE LOSE ALL

It was as if God was hiding his face from them.

Now we are seeing the FIRST SIGN OF CONTRITION.

The Lord had demanded that the people strip themselves of their ornaments, and the people complied and wore them no more. (Exodus 33:5-6)

From and after this occurrence at Horeb (Sinai), The Israelites wore no ornament, in token of their continued contrition for their apostasy.

AT TIMES GOD HIDES HIS FACE FROM MAN

1. Sometimes As A Judgment

It was as A JUDGMENT that GOD SEPARATED between himself and man after the fall, and drove man forth from the Garden Of Eden. (Genesis 3:24)

It was as A JUDGMENT THAT HE WITHDREW FROM SAUL, "and answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Prophets." (1 Samuel 28:6)

It was A JUDGMENT when he HID HIS FACE from David, and forgot all his misery and trouble. It was because David had offended him by the grievous sin into which he had fallen. (2 Samuel 12:7-23)

It was A JUDGMENT when THE LORD REMOVED ISRAEL OUT OF HIS SIGHT in the reign of Hoshea. (2 Kings 17:23)

It was A JUDGMENT in his "CASTING OF JERUSALEM AND JUDAH OUT FROM HIS PRESENCE" In the Reign Of Zedekiah. (2 Kings 24:20)

OUR SINS SEPARATE US FROM HIM

They raise a barrier which conceals him from us.

They constitute The Cloud which shuts him out of our sight.

He judges us for them.

SOMETIMES HE HIDES HIS FACE FROM US

 

 2. As An Act Of Mercy.

It was IN MERCY when Jesus, "Did Not Many Mighty Works," at Capernaum, "Because of their unbelief." (Matthew 13:58)

It was AN ACT OF MERCY when he retired to Galilee, and "WALKED NO MORE IN JEWRY." (John 7:1)

It was IN MERCY when HE SPAKE IN PARABLES, "That hearing they might not understand." (Luke 8:10)

Our responsibilities are Co-ordinate with revelation given to us. (Luke 12:47-48)

The more God reveal himself to us,

The more he manifest his presence to us,

The greater the peril which we incur.

UNLESS HIS NEAR PRESENCE ELEVATES US AND SPIRITUALISES US, IT DEADENS US.

Two disciples were near to Jesus.

 

One "Lay on his breast,"

The other dipped with him in the dish.

 

One was the "Beloved Disciple,"

The other was the Traitor."

Whatever the reason that God hides his face from us is, it is,

3. GROUND FOR SADNESS.

Exodus 33:4a. And when the people heard these evil tidings, THEY MOURNED…..

IF IT WAS MERCY, How sad that they should need such a Mercy.

HOW SAD that to be removed further from God should be A MERCY TO THEM.

IF IT WAS A JUDGMENT, How much more sad that their conduct should have brought upon them such a judgment.

HOW SAD to have caused God to withdraw himself.

HOW SAD to have led him to punish them by banishment from his near presence.

What real satisfaction is there in existence except his presence?

If We Lose Him, We Lose All.

If We Are Shut Out, Even For A Time, From Him,

We Lose More Than We Can Express.

"For in him we live, and move, and have our being;….. (Acts 17:28a.)

 

Happily for us, WHILE WE LIVE, We may recover his Favor.

We may prevail on him once more to "Make his face shine upon thee." (Numbers 6:25)

Mouring, self abasement, real heart felt sorrow for sin will, in every case, find acceptance with him for his Son's sake.

 

AND OBTAIN FOR US A RESTORATION OF THE LIGHT OF HIS PRESENCE

THE PEOPLE ACCEPTED THE TEST and stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb.

But Moses was Anxious to obtain full pardon and complete restoration for his people, so he led them into prayer, and wrestled with God again on their behalf.

SO MOSES SET UP A TENT, OR TABERNCLE, INTO WHICH HE LED THE PEOPLE TO PRAY AND SEEK THE FACE OF GOD.

The Erection Of A House Of Prayer

Exodus 33:7a. And Moses took the tabernacle, AND PITCHED IT WITHOUT THE CAMP, AFAR OFF FROM THE CAMP, and called it The Tabernacle Of The Congregation.

Moses took a tent, probable his own tent, as it was the best one they had, and set it up as A HOUSE OF PRAYER.

This tent was set up outside the camp because God had withdrawn his presence from them.

Exodus 33:7b. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto The Tabernacle Of The Congregation which was without the camp.

This tent was set up as a place where the people could come and SEEK AFTER THE LORD IN PRAYER.

One by one we see Israel coming and entering into The Tabernacle, BESIEGING GOD with their prayers.

All had been left to individual feeling or conviction.

THEY HAD, We may be sure, for the most part, NEGLECTED PRAYER.

They had been content that Moses should pray for them. (Exodus 14:15, 15:25, 17:4,11, 12, ect)

NOW, FINALLY THEY AWOKE TO THE NEED OF PERSONAL RELIGION

They had "MOURNED" and put off their ornaments, THEY SOUGHT THE LORD, and time and time again went to the "TENT OF MEETING," in the hope of finding him there.

Repentance for sin is an indispensable condition of restoration to God's favor.

It is well that the remembrance of great sins go with us all our days.

Those Who Committed Them Should Go Softly Ever After.

There is an "ACCEPTED TIME" during which, if the sinners repents, he will be forgiven, and God's 

presence will be restored to him.

2 Corinthians 6:2a. For he saith, I have heard thee IN A TIME ACCEPTED, and in the DAY OF SALVATION I SUCCOURED THEE.

The Day Of Grace Which Sinners Enjoy Is Won For Them By The Intercession Of Another.

 

Israel's "ACCEPTED TIME" was based on The Intercession Of Moses, ours rests on The Intercession Of Christ.

2 Corinthians 6:2b. Behold, NOW IS THE ACCEPTED TIME; Behold, NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION.

 

It is our duty to seek the Lord While he may be found, and to call upon him while he is near."(Isaiah 55:6)

THE THIRD INTERCESSION

Exodus 33:8. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the Tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the Tabernacle.

9. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the Tabernacle THE CLOUDY PILLAR DECENDED, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, AND THE LORD TALKED WITH MOSES.

And all the people saw the Cloudy Pillar stand at the Tabernacle door: and ALL THE PEOPLE ROSE UP AND WORSHIPPED, every man in his tent door.

Moses made it his habit to go forth from the camp to the "TENT OF MEETING," possibly more than once a day, and pray earnestly to the Lord.

The Tent was close enough to the camp that the people could see Moses when he entered into the Tabernacle. They worshipped every time he went into the Tent.

They now saw and felt their need for God's Presence.

GOD CAME EACH TIME MOSES ENTERED THE TABERNACLE

Exodus 33:11.And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, The Son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of The Tabernacle.

Joshua was so faithful to the cause that during all this time he never left The Tabernacle.

God's token of favor to Moses was "THE CLOUDY PILLAR" which descended each time he entered the Door Of The Tabernacle . (Exodus 33:9)

During this time "The Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." (Exodus 33:11)

Will God Go Up With Them Or Not?

God Has Not Yet Told Him, Will He Tell Him Now.

MOSES WANTS TO KNOW GOD'S INTENTIONS

Moses uses the friendship which God has shown him to press for the assurance that God will go with them.

TELL ME PLAINLY WHAT THOU WILL DO

Exodus 33:12. And Moses said unto the Lord, see, Thou sayest unto me, bring up this people: and THOU HAST NOT LET ME KNOW WHOM THOU WILT SEND WITH ME. Yet Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast found grace in my sight.

If it is to be an Angel, What Angel? Why not the Angel of The Original Promise? (Exodus 23:20-23)

13."Now therefore, I pray Thee…..Shew me now thy way….and CONSIDER THAT THIS IS THY PEOPLE."

Moses is telling God to have in mind that these are his people.

DON'T FORGET WHO THEY ARE.

14a. And He said, MY PRESENCE SHALL GO WITH THEE,…"

Not that of an Angel, but "MY OWN PRESENCE, shall go with thee.

14b. "….., AND I WILL GIVE THEE REST."

"I will bring thee into Canaan."

THE POWER OF PERSERVERING PRAYER

James 5:16b. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Moses is still not quite satisfied.

Perhaps a certain tone of distance is still detected by Moses.

So, he presses on in earnest. (Exodus 33:15-16)

Moses wanted assurance that God would be associated with the people before he stopped praying.

He realized that THE PRESENCE OF GOD among the people would be the greatest distinction of Israel.

It would set them apart from, and above all the nations of the earth.

So Moses wanted a confirmation from God that the people would be included in THE PROMISE WITH HIM.

Exodus 33:15. And he said unto him, if Thy Presence go not with me. Carry us not up hence.

16a. For wherein shall it be known here that I AND THY PEOPLE have found grace in Thy Sight? Is it not in that THOU GOEST WITH US?

16b. So shall we be SEPARATED (distinguished), I and Thy People, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

SO MOSES REQUIRES A MORE EXPLICIT ASSURANCE,

And closely associating the people with himself, declares that he will not move a step further, unless God allows the people to find grace in his sight, and consents to "DISINGUISH" them by "GOING UP" with them.

Angelic guidance would not have done this, for even heathen nations had their protecting Angels. (Daniel 10:13-20; 11:1)

Then At Length God Yields And Gives The Assurance Moses Is Seeking.

Exodus 33:17a. "And the Lord said unto Moses, I WILL DO THIS THING ALSO THAT THOU HAST SPOKEN:"

I will extend my favor to Thy People also, and distinguish them as well as thee, by going up with them.

I will do this for thy sake, because "THOU HAST FOUND GRACE IN MY SIGHT, AND I KNOW THEE BY NAME." (Exodus 33:17b.)

It is a supreme favor for God to know us by name.

It marks a specifically personal relation to God.

This is most significant because in most Oriental Courts, not one in a hundred of The Courtiers is known to The Monarch by name. (Nehemiah 2:1-8)

THE FOURTH INTERCESSION

The Craving For Close Communion With God

Exodus 33:18. And he (Moses) said, I beseech Thee, "SHEW ME THY GLORY."

Having obtained the full restoration of the people to God's favor, Moses felt emboldened to ask a blessing for himself.

He had already been admitted to closer communion with God than any of the race of man since Adam in Paradise.

But what had been granted him, instead of satisfying him, only made him desirous of something further, something closer, something which nothing more close could be imagined.

Psalms 42:1. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.

2a. My soul thirsteth for God, for the Living God……."

So Moses asks to see the unveiled Glory of God. (Exodus 33:18.)

IN TIMES PAST THE GLORY WAS VEILED In A Burning Bush, Or In A Cloudy Pillar, "Or In A Pillar Of Fire."

The Veiled splendors THAT HE HAD SEEN only made him hunger the more for the unveiled radiance NOT YET SEEN.

He asked that he no longer have to deal with a voice behind a veil, but that he might see the face from which that voice came.

He Asks To See That Which Mortal Man Cannot See, And Live.

God in reply tells him that he shall see all that can be seen of him, and live.

MORE THAN ANYTHING WHICH HE HAS SEEN BEFORE.

And he shall have another revelation of the Name Of God.

Exodus 33:19a. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim The Name Of The Lord Before Thee…

20. And he said , thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me and live.

We cannot, while on earth, obtain the full communion for which our spiritual nature craves.

The apostle Paul realized that while on earth we cannot be satisfied, But must ever be craving for something more, and that some things we would never understand, but there was coming a day when all our faculties would be satisfied.

Corinthians 13:12. For NOW we see through a glass, darkly; but THEN face to face: NOW we know in part; but THEN shall I know even as also I am known. (NOW & THEN)

NEARER, MY GOD TO THEE

Exodus 33:21. And the Lord said, Behold, THERE IS A PLACE BY ME, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:

22. And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock,and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:

23. And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.

THERE IS A PLACE OF CLOSE COMMUNION WITH GOD to which he allows us to enter for a time of extraordinary fellowship, and blessings, and sometimes revelations.

HOW DO WE GAIN ENTRANCE TO THIS PLACE?

First of all there was limited access in The Old Testament Times after the day of Adam when God withdrew behind a veil or dark cloud.

Yet we read of a few who found a way to enter into the very Presence Of God.

Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Elijah and Daniel to name a few who was so blessed, and yet, even to these, there remained many mysteries which were not revealed.

Ephesians 3:5a. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men……

Romans 16:25b. ……The Mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

DAVID GAVE US THE KEY TO GAIN ENTRANCE TO HIS PRESENCE

Psalms 100:4a. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise….

As in Oriental Courts no one can just stride into his presence. No man could come unless he was bidden, and then not unless The Monarch held out his scepter.

THE INVITATION GIVEN

Exodus 34:1. And The Lord said unto Moses, HEW THEE TWO TABLES OF STONE LIKE UNTO THE FIRST: And I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.

2. AND BE READY IN THE MORNING, and come up in the morning unto Mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the Top Of The Mount.

3. AND NO MAN SHALL COME UP WITH THEE, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let flocks nor herds feed before that Mount.

Fervent and prolonged intercessions of Moses in the make-shift Tabernacle brought this invitation. (Deuteronomy 9:18)

Now, HE MUST MAKE PREPARATIONS IN HASTE, and come in the morning.

HE MUST COME ALONE.

Joshua accompanied him the other time he went up the mountain to meet God. (Exodus 19:24)

So, even though his body would have enjoyed a period of rest and relaxation and recuperation, his mind and spirit drove him on to seek the things God had promised him.

RESTORATION OF THE TWO TABLES

It was God who made the restoration of the Tables a condition of the complete return of his favor.

God will not divorce favor from obedience, nor privilege from keeping the Law.

God can only enter into covenant with those who accept his law as their rule of life.

Man can only be fitted to enjoy God's favor, and the rewards he has to bestow on them, by leading a life in accordance with his law, and acquiring the character which such a life forms in them.

The broken tables must be restored, AND IN RESTORING THEM NO CHANGES MUST BE MADE.

Their very form must resemble as nearly as possible to the form of the preceding ONES. "LIKE UNTO THE FIRST. (Exodus 34:1)

From first to last, "THE WORDS WERE THOSE THAT WERE IN THE FIRST TABLES." (Exodus 34:1)

There is no hint of any alteration.

THE MORAL LAW IS ETERNAL AND UNALTERABLE

Christianity Changes Nothing In The Law That Is Moral.

Matthew 5:17. Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

18. For verily I say unto you, till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled.

So Moses is enjoined by God to, "Hew Thee" --Literally means, "Hew For Thyself," two tables of stone, REPAIR THE LOSS CAUSED BY THINE OWN ACTION.

Repentance is no part of man's original duty to God; but once he broke the moral law, it became obligatory on him.

Every infraction involves this new duty; some infractions involve more.

Fraud involves the duty of restitution,

Calumny, or defamation, that of retraction,

Insult, that of apology,

And the like.

Each of our sins lays upon us as a new burden, not only of guilt, but also of labor, to annul it.

We had best refrain from evil, even in our own interest, or we may increase our burden till we sink under it.

In all of his supplications, Moses said nothing about these Broken Tables;

It would be too much to say that they were never in his thoughts.

Now all that Jehovah does is simply to command from Moses,

THE PREPARATION OF NEW TABLETS.

And as Moses labors long into the evening preparing The Tables, he may safely be left to his own thoughts.

THE DUTY WAS EXACTING, like unto the first,

IT WAS ALSO URGENT, be ready in the morning.

Whatever lessons he needed in respect to SELF CONTROL, the opportunity was given him to learn.

Opportunity was also given to learn the need of being continually on the WATCH FOR MANIFESTIONS OF HUMAN WEAKNESS AND INSTABIBITY.

Exodus 34:4. And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in hand the two tables of stone.

Moses obeys all the directions given him to the letter, rises early, and ascends the mountain to the appointed spot for his appointment with God.

Mark, however, that SOMETHING IS ALWAYS FORFEITED BY SIN, even though forgiven.

The New Tables Were Made To Lose One Glory Of The First.

They Were Not Shaped By God, As The First Were.

When Moses broke them, he broke the HOLIEST THING IN ALL ISRAEL'S BELONGINGS; These Tables, appointed by God to rest within The Ark, and underneath The Mercy Seat.

If These Tables Had Survived They Would Be The Most Valuable Thing On Earth.

"Shaped By The Hand Of God, And Written By The Finger Of God." (Exodus 32:16)

THE FULFILLMENT BY GOD OF HIS PROMISE TO MOSES

Exodus 34:5. And the Lord descended in The Cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed THE NAME OF THE LORD.

6. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, THE LORD, THE LORD GOD, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in GOODNESS AND TRUTH.

7. Keeping MERCY for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and fourth generation.

8. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the Earth and Worshiped.

These verses tell the story of THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PROMISES MADE TO MOSES.(Exodus 33:19-23)

The Promise To Show Him His Glory. (Exodus 33:19)

The Promise To Give Him Another Revelation Of His Name. (Exodus 33:19)

Early in the morning Moses reached the "CLIFF OF THE ROCK," Jehovah "DECENDED IN THE CLOUD," and covered Moses with his hand, and "PASSED BY BEFORE HIM."

Probably no further description could be given of that marvelous manifestation beyond these words in which it was promised.

This was a sight which was beyond words to describe, and Moses just LET IT STAND INDELIBLY IN HIS MIND.

It's effects were seen in that PERMANENT REFLECTION OF GODS' GLORY ON THE FACE OF MOSES, which thenceforth compelled him to wear a veil when he showed himself to the people.

PROCLAMATION OF THE NAME OF THE LORD

In his first recorded appearance to Moses at the burning bush had revealed his name, "I AM THAT I AM," "I AM." (Exodus 3:14)

This meant that he was "THE SELF EXISTENT ONE"

 

Hitherto it had satisfied them.

IT HAD MARKED HIM AS,

Eternal,

 

Uncaused,

Unconditioned,

Self Sufficient,

All Powerful.

BUT IT HAD NOT REVEALED HIS MORAL NATURE

The Question Remained,

What is God like,

What are his feelings toward us.

GOD IS MERCIFUL

On this occasion (Exodus 34:6-7) God confirmed his first announcement of His Name to Moses, THEN ADDED TO THIS A PROCLAMATION CONCERNING HIS CHARACTER.

He Set Forth God As Above All Things, Merciful

Never before had GOD'S ATTRIBUTES been set forth with anything like such fullness as they are at this time to Moses.

The emphasis had always been concerning his power, or his majesty, and his Self Sufficiency.

Here God Emphasizes His Mercy, His Love, His Compassion, And His Justice.

1. Merciful

2. Gracious

3. Longsuffering

4. Abundant In Goodness

5. Keeping Mercy For Thousands

6. All Truthful

7. Forgiving Iniquity, Transgressions and Sin

This was to assure Moses, and through him, mankind at large, of the reality of These ATTRIBUES, on which the possibility of OUR SALVATION depends.

This passage (Exodus 34:6-7), lays bare to us THE VERY HEART OF GOD.

It Is The Grandest Description Of God In The Old Testament.

Fourteen and a half centuries would pass before the world would have a better description of God, and this came through the birth of his only begotten son, JESUS CHRIST.

Through His Life We Have A True Portrait Of All The Attributes Of God.

Jewish commentators make out thirteen descriptions of God from these verses, some of which I will give.

1. Rakhum-----The Tender or Pitiful One, who is full of kindness and Compassion.

2. Khannun-----The Gracious One, Who bestows his benefits out of mere favor, with obligation.

3. Erek Appayim--The Long Suffering One, Who is not easily provoked, but Suffers Long and is Kind.

4. Rab-Khesed---The Great in Mercy, who needs no explanation.

5. Notser-Khesed--The Keeper of Mercy, He who does not desert those he loves, but is Merciful to them.

6. Nose 'Avon Vapesha Vekkattaah---The forgiver of iniquity and transgression and sin, the being who alone can forgive sins and give peace to the guilty soul.

Moses Did Well To Make Appeal To This Self Description Of God When Israel Had A Second Time Provoked God To Destroy Them. (Numbers 14:1-20)

Numbers 14:18a. "The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression…"

19a. "Pardon I Beseech thee, the iniquity of this people…"

We also shall do well to make our appeal to the same, whenever we have offended our Lord and Master by our faults and short comings, or sins, negligence, and ignorance.

Conjured By This Name God Can Scarcely Refuse To Reply, As He Did To Moses.

Numbers 14:20. And the Lord said, I HAVE PARDONED ACCORDING TO THY WORD:

l John 5:16b. …..There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

Matthew 12:31b …..But blasphemy against The Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

From these verses of New Testament Scripture we are made aware of THE BOUNDS OF GOD'S MERCY AND OF HIS GRACE.

The prophet Nahum had this passage (Exodus 34:7) in his mind when he threatened Ninevah. (Nahum 1:3)

Ninevah, warned of the impending destruction which God had declared by Jonah, one hundred years previously, had repented in sack cloth and ashes.

God, SEEING THEIR WORKS OF REPENTANCE, had stayed his wrath, and spared the city.

About a century after the preaching of Jonah, God calls Nahum to proclaim The Coming Destruction of Ninevah.

This Time There Will Be No Escape, Because The Measure Of Wickedness Is Full. (Nahum 3:1-7)

Unlike Jonah, Nahum does not go to the city but declares his oracle from afar.

THERE IS NO HOPE OF REPENTANCE.

NINEVAH'S DESTRUCTION IS,

DECREED,

DESCRIBED,

AND DESERVED.

 

GOD IS TRUTH:

Exodus 34:6b. "…..Abundant in ………Truth."

 

In this verse God declares to Moses That TRUTH IS A PART OF HIS NAME.

The moral attributes of Truth, Mercy, Goodness, Justice are all part of God's Essential Nature. (Exodus 34:5-7)

There can be no trust in any being who is not true.

Truth lies at the root of all moral goodness.

 The truth of God is taken for granted, since without it revelation could have no force or value.

In both The Old and The New Testament GOD REVEALS HIMSELF AS, "TRUE," OR, SOMETIMES AS, "THE TRUTH".

Psalms 108:4b. …And Thy Truth reacheth unto The Clouds.

Psalms 117:2b. …And The Truth Of The Lord Endureth For Ever.

John 14:6. "….I Am The….., The Truth,….

WORSHIPPING THE GLORY

Exodus 34:8. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.

Moses worshipped The Glory that had passed by, accepting the gracious words addressed to him.

Moses had just stood in the "CLIFT OF THE ROCK," And as the Lord passed by he covered Moses with his hand, then removed his hand to allow Moses a glimpse of his back.

The Lord had a greater revelation of himself to Moses that had not been known until now.

It revealed that the absolute being is, at the same time the most perfect being.

It revealed that Moral Attributes Of Truth, Mercy, Goodness, And Justice were his Character.

NOT A PART OF HIS CHARCTER BUT HIS VERY ESSENCE

It is essential to a right conception of him that we should believe in his absolute veracity.

If We "Make Him A Liar," We Ruin Our Whole Idea Of Him.

We Might As Well Make Him Non Existent.

GOD IS LOVE

God wanted Moses to know, and through him, the world to know, that THERE IS MERCY, AND GOODNESS IN GOD.

 

This revelation to Moses (Exodus 34:5-7) is an earlier expression of The Truth which The Gospel has now made a Great Spiritual certainty to us. "GOD IS LOVE" (1 John 4:16)

NOT SIMPLY "LOVES," BUT " IS LOVE."

 

 If "God Is Love," and Love constitutes his Essence, then Love must Dominate, Wield, Work through His Other Perfection's, using all for its own purpose, transmuting all into its own Nature.

There cannot be discord or division in the Breast Of The Eternal.

What God is, He must ever have been, must be at all times, through all ages, in all His works, under all Forms Of His Manifestation.

This is a conception so deep and far reaching as to pass in its length and breadth beyond our grasp.

 Its Lines Prolong Themselves To Infinity.

FRUITS OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

1. ADORATION

Exodus 34:8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth and worshipped.

For Deep and True Worship The Soul Must Know God In The Reality Of His Existence, And The Glory Of His Nature.

2. PRAYER FOR HIMSELT AND HIS PEOPLE

Exodus 34:9a. And He said, if now I have found grace in Thy sight, O Lord I pray thee, go among us; for it is a Stiff Necked People;….

3. PRAYER FOR GOD'S PRESENCE------"GO AMONG US"

"WE NEED THEE-----EVERY HOUR WE NEED THEE."

4. PRAYER THAT GOD MAY COME IN MERCY, NOT IN JUDGEMENT.

Exodus 34:9b. "Pardon Our Iniquity, And Our Sin."

 

5. THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

Exodus 34:9c. "And (So) Take Us For Thine Inheritance."

 

Moses Through This Intercession Won The Favor Of God For His People.

It Is One Of The Greatest Examples Of Intercession In The Bible.

It Is An Everlasting Promise That We Also Can Win His Favor, By Following The Steps Outlined Here That Moses Took.

Hope You Enjoyed Reading This Study Of Moses And The Golden Calf And Will Read The Other Studies On This Web Site.

 Write To Us

 

E-Mail Address, Godsgrazingfield@att.net

 

 

 

 

 

James L. Thornton

Copyright (c)2010 GODSGRAZINGFIELD & JustHost.com