Remember Your Promise
God, open my heart to see how You have been hurt. How astonishing Your mercy is for undeserving people like us!
Read Exodus 32:1–14
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, 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.”
2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’
9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever experienced or observed the agony of betrayal?
God had rescued Israel out of Egypt and then brought the nation to himself in a close and exclusive relationship. Now, just a few chapters
later, the nation was committing spiritual adultery by giving their love to another god, a god they could see, a god who looked powerful and impressive. Aaron even called this new god “the Lord” (1–6).
Betrayal is devastating, so God’s response in verses 7–10 is completely understandable. Moses stands between the people and the deserved anger of God in verses 11–13, reminding God of his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Israel (Jacob). God relented and did not destroy the people.
Are we like those people? How often do our hearts stray from full devotion to God? Do we make up replacement gods in our careers, hobbies or entertainment? How much must God’s loving heart be hurt by this?
And yet God has promised, and God keeps his promises. And because God sent a greater leader than Moses, we have one who stands in the gap for us. Married to God we may hurt him, but he remains faithfully merciful to us even with our “golden calves.”
Examine your heart and see if there are any idols within. What needs to happen to destroy the idols and give God his rightful place?
My God, I know how I can so easily be unfaithful to You. Show me the idols in my life and turn my heart back to You. Forgive me.
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