Scripture text for this study — Exodus 32:1-14
3. a. The Israelites made and worshiped the golden calf idol because they probably thought Moses was dead.
At first, I thought they wanted an idol to worship instead of the God who delivered them from Pharaoh. If they thought Moses was dead, it seems they would be afraid God might kill them, too. Or that He had abandoned them altogether.
Maybe they were following Moses, not God, and had lost confidence in him (Moses).
But in their perverted minds, they were simply worshiping the true God by making a graven image of Him that they could see. And if they had used their heads, what a great insult this image would be to God. They likened Him to a cow.
Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.
b. Aaron willingly participated in creating the golden calf, built an altar, and proclaimed a feast day.
This makes no sense to me. He actually saw the Lord along with Moses and the seventy elders. It hadn’t been that long.
Was Aaron afraid of the people? That still doesn’t explain the way he took a leadership role in the project. Fear doesn’t explain why he said the calf was responsible for bringing them out of Egypt. Surely, he knew that wasn’t true.
If the people thought Moses was dead, their celebration makes it appear they didn’t miss him. They still related to and preferred Egypt and its pagan ways.
It’s amazing how Aaron and the people could see and experience the signs, wonders, and miracles and still fall. But then, many of the people who lived at the time of Jesus fell away, too.
Lord, help us.
c. The gold items plundered from Egypt went into making the golden calf. Exodus 12:35-36
4. a. Modern day idols—Growing up, my pastors often mentioned boats or vacation homes as idols because they kept people out of a church pew on Sunday. I suppose any possession can become an idol. Or a career. Or a business. A hobby. So could a child, friend, spouse, or pet.
Money buys all sorts of entertainment and worldly pleasures.
1 Corinthians 10:6 mentions—
- Uncontrolled sensual desires
- Eating and drinking to excess—quantity, extravagance, exotic. etc.
- Sexual sins “Most of the oriental dances were grossly indecent and licentious.” Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. This description reminds me of the dance Salome’s daughter performed for Herod.
b. Ways to resist idols — 1 Corinthians 10:6-7, 11-13
- Don’t worship anything other than the one true God. This warning referred specifically to man-made idols. Many parts of the world such as India still worship idols. Statues of Buddha are gaining popularity as decorations in American homes. A disturbing trend even if they aren’t actively worshiped.
- Avoid focus on eating more food or types of foods than are beneficial to our bodies.
- Avoid events where illegal drugs and heavy consumption of alcohol is likely.
- Avoid whining and complaining.
- Run from temptation.
5. The Lord’s dialogue with Moses:
a. The Lord said the people —
- have corrupted themselves.
- have quickly turned away from the way I commanded them to live.
- have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it.
- They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’ NLT
- These people are stubborn and rebellious.
b. The question suggests God tempted Moses when He offered to make him a great nation instead of Israel. James 1:13 says “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else.” So, if Moses was indeed temped, God did the tempting. Since God does not tempt us, this was not a temptation. ??
c. Moses reasoned with God by making the following points—
- He reminded God that He staged a mighty rescue of His own people from slavery.
- The Egyptians might think God rescued them to destroy them Himself.
- Moses reminded God of His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—The promise to make their offspring numerous and give them the land He promised they would possess forever.
d. “So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.” Exodus 32:14
This is an amazing exchange between God and a man. If someone shared that conversation today, we would have all sorts of problems with their theology. In fact, some say God was testing Moses or simply trying to get him to intercede. But Psalm 106:23 says God would have destroyed them if Moses hadn’t persuaded Him to repent.
Photo credit Marian Trinidad CC
These are MY answers to the study questions, not THE answers. I’m a BSF student.