Time to Put Things Right
Think about ways you may have joined God’s detractors instead of standing on his side. Ask his forgiveness.
Read Exodus 32:25-33:6
 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies.  So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.  Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.'”  The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.  Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”  The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”  So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold.  But now, please forgive their sin-but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”  The LORD replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.  Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”  And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’  I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.  Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”  When the people heard these distressing words, they began to mourn and no one put on any ornaments.  For the LORD had said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I might destroy you. Now take off your ornaments and I will decide what to do with you.'”  So the Israelites stripped off their ornaments at Mount Horeb. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat are the consequences of worshiping the golden calf?
By choosing to stand at the entrance to the camp (or gate), the traditional place of judgment, Moses is demonstrating the continuing seriousness of the situation. Those Israelites who stop to think for a moment will remember that the penalty for idolatry is death (22:20). But, rather than change their behavior and return to the Lord, some of the people persist in “running wild” (32:25). For most of the period described in chapter 32, the people have been acting as a crowd, sweeping each other along in bad decisions and bad behavior. Now, however, it is time for each person to think and to act for himself or herself and to stand apart from the crowd. Moses puts a vital choice before them all (26), with dreadful consequences for everyone (27,28). At this point, it looks as though God’s plan to live with his people has been completely ruined. By choosing to turn away from him, his people have forfeited the promise of his presence with them. But has he abandoned them entirely?
How might God be calling you to stand up for him? Determine what you should say (or not say) and do (or not do).
I truly desire, Lord, to stand firmly on Your side. Help me when I grow fearful or weak in my resolve.
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