Lord, use Your Word today to help me grow in the wisdom of knowing when and how to act for You.
Read EXODUS 32:15-24
 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back.  The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.  When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”  Moses replied: “It is not the sound of victory, it is not the sound of defeat; it is the sound of singing that I hear.”  When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.  And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.  He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”  “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil.  They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’  So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat excuse did Aaron offer for this great sin?
After his heavenly mountain-top experience with God, Moses descends to a hell-like vision. “What on earth did they do to you for you to allow this to happen?”, Moses demands of his deputy (21). Rightly uncomfortable, Aaron tries some excuses: “You know what the people are like.” He even tried blaming Moses: “You didn’t hurry back, did you?” (22,23). And finally, the sad tale trails off into the realms of fiction: “I threw the gold into the fire—and out came this calf!” (see 32:4).
The excuses don’t wash with Moses: “… you have brought so great a sin upon them” (21). Aaron is responsible. Yes, he may have been intimidated and afraid. But his behavior shows a lack of knowledge of God and a profound absence of trust in God.
In contrast, Moses’ response demonstrates right understanding (19). God alone is worthy of worship. The precious stone tablets crash down the mountain, resonating with the law-breaking activity of God’s people. Moses’ reaction may seem harsh to us, but his outrage is right. Ultimately we live our lives before a supreme God, not before fickle and sinful men.
Have you ever used excuses with God to explain your sin? Pray for courage to do what is right.
Gracious Lord, help me to face up to any sin I commit and not try to make up foolish excuses.
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