October 12, 2008 am   Too Long Gone    Exodus 32

by Ron George Jr. at the Fayetteville Baptist Church

A story of the one true God and the people that He loves.  Would they love Him?  Would they follow Him?  Would they listen to Him?  What would He do? 

Scripture Text:  Exodus 32     When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us godsa 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,b O 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.c 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, O 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. “O 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.

I.  Recognize the blessings of God:  Don’t forget.  The people were delivered and blessed.  What are the blessings that God has given you?  Do you remember?  God loves us so much that He gave his only begotten Son for you and me. 
II.  Have you followed God’s leading?  The people were led to the mountain of the Lord. 

III.  Have you heard the message from God’s messenger?  Moses went to get the message from the Lord.  Wait for the word.  Trust in the Lord.  Stand your ground.

IV.  Too Long Gone.  He was too long gone.  He was there for forty days and night.  The people became impatient and agitated so they took matters into their own hands.  The preacher is late.  Too tall, too bald, too fat, too skinny, wrong message, so let’s get us another. 

V.  They wanted their own god and their preacher.  So they got one.  Aaron made them a golden calf to represent their god.  In your spiritual quest, don’t look for a god or a church that suits you, but search for the one true living God and His calling in your life.  Then you will not be mislead by the gods of this world.  He is true and His way is right.  His way will be the right way for you.  Problem was the people had forgotten God and all that He has done in their life.  So, they went to other sources of refuge… other gods…  gold, calf, sheep, cars, and etc.   They left God and asked Aaron to help.  Give us something we like.  Make us a god that we can see.  Give us a god that will be what we want it to be.  They got them a leader who do what they wanted and he created for them a god they liked. 

VI.  They were trusting in what they could do.  They were trusting in the works of their hands.  They created an image that could see and worship as the one who had saved them, but it was a false image.  They couldn’t live by faith.  They failed to trust God.  They went back to Egypt in their heart.  They began to worship in the Egyptian way.  They went away from the one true living God. 

VII.  They broke God’s heart.  God saw what they had done and He was upset.  Why had He saved these people if they would not recognize Him?  Since He is the only One, he wanted to punish them.  He knew he couldn’t let them continue to live this way.  He wanted to save them but they chose to reject Him.  Therefore He rejected them.  Without God you and I have no opportunity for hope.  With Him there is life and hope. 

VIII.  But Moses cared and stood in the gap between the people and the Lord.  I care for you.  I stand in the gap for you, but wait God calls you and me to stand in the gap for others.  So that they may also live.  Moses humbled himself.  Moses interceded. 

IX.  God forgave.  God heard the plea of Moses and forgave them on Moses’ behalf.  He forgave them because of Moses.  He gave them another chance.  God gives us opportunity after opportunity to have faith and trust Him.  Would we wait for Him? 

 

a Or a god; also in verses 23 and 31

b Or This is your god; also in verse 8

c Traditionally peace offerings

The Holy Bible : New International Version (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, c1984). Ex 32:1-14.