Have you ever read Exodus 32? This chapter is INSANE! I am splitting my response to it into two sections because there is no way 500 words could do it justice.
A golden calf. A heated argument. A change of mind. A shocking sight. A murderous rampage. A plea for grace.
A Golden Calf
“Where’s Moses?” The people want a leader and none is to be found.
“Where’s God?” The people want to worship but don’t know where to direct it.
So Aaron steps in and leads them in the most ironic worship service they have ever participated in.
They make things with gold. They speak priestly things to one another. They build an altar. They have a festival. The make burnt offerings and sacrifices of well being. And they eat and drink.
These are all things that God told them to do in the Law.
It would seem that much in the law is fairly intuitive. No one had to tell them to do these things. They just did them.
Which would lead me to believe that the craziest part in the law was that whole “don’t worship other gods and don’t build idols” part.
A Heated Argument.
What do you think- Is Moses vs. God a better argument than Abraham vs. God?
I am going with Moses. Here’s why:
1) God tries to shirk off responsibility of the people to Moses.
‘Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely
Really? Your people? Listen God, I am pretty sure you were very clear about the fact that you brought those people out of Egypt and that they are actually your people. Don’t try and get out of this one. They are here because of you.
2) God finds a loophole in his promise
Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.’
God made that promise to Abraham. Moses is technically a descendant of Abraham so the promise still works. It is just a really shady way of making it happen.
3) Moses appeals to God’s honor
Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”?
In other words: This is going to make you look really bad! Don’t do it! It is a stupid idea!
That takes some serious guts. God is burning hot with anger and hell-bent on wiping these people out and Moses says “no.”
Question: One of God’s complaints about the Israelites was that they were “stiff-necked.” Is Moses being stiff-necked and disobedient? What do you do with that?!
A Change Of Mind
Depending on your translation, at the end of the argument, God repents.
He turns from what he was going to do. He changes his course of direction. That’s what repentance means.
I have heard a lot of people try to say that this was just a test for Moses. A bit like when God tested Abraham. I don’t buy it.
There is nothing in here, nothing, that makes me think this was a test. God was going to wipe his people off the face of the earth and because of a fight with Moses, changed his mind.
So what about you? What are your thoughts on Exodus 32? Does it challenge any of your preconceptions or understanding about the God of the Bible?