Saturday, February 20, 2016

Now It's Moses' Anger That Burned


Now It’s Moses’ Anger That Burned
Exodus 32:15-20: Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides; they were written on one side and the other. And the tablets were God’s work, and the writing was God’s writing engraved on the tablets. Now when Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of war in the camp.” But he said,
“It is not the sound of the cry of triumph,
Nor is it the sound of the cry of defeat;
But the sound of singing I hear.”
And it came about, as soon as Moses came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses’ anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain. And he took the calf which they had made and burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the surface of the water, and made the sons of Israel drink it.
Moses has succeeded in changing God’s mind. God was not going to destroy His people. Israel’s leader could now take the two tablets God had personally written and given him and return to the people below, picking up Joshua (who had not been invited all the way up to meet with God as Moses had) on his way down.
As they get closer to the base of the mountain, the younger Joshua hears a lot of noise coming from the camp below. He assumes it to be sounds of war, either victory or defeat, and shares his thoughts with Moses. The commander-in-chief may have been older, but he was also more experienced. He remembered what God had said to him concerning the need for him to return at once to the people, for they had “corrupted themselves” (see verse 7 of this same chapter 32). So he told Joshua that what they were hearing was neither the sounds of victory nor those of defeat, but the sound of singing. Normally that would have been a good thing and I am sure Moses and Joshua, after their solemn trek up the mountain, would have loved to have been welcomed by joyous and celebrating people. We often get caught up in celebrations that we might be better off not to be part of. To someone who listens to what God says to him, chooses to serve God and God alone, as Moses had, the source of celebration should and will often trump participation in the celebration itself.  Such was the case for Moses.
You will remember God had told him that the people had corrupted themselves, but not how they had done it.  So, as soon as he saw the golden calf, his own anger burned inside him, to the point where he was so furious that he actually shattered the tablets that God had asked him to bring down to the people. Israel had broken their covenant with God by idolatry and immorality as they substituted a golden calf for God. Moses then melted the golden idol, ground it into powder, and as Robert Jamieson suggests, sprayed its dust on the water system from which the Israelites drank in the camp, thus making them drink it. David Guzik suggest he did this for three reasons:
1.     to show that this "god" was nothing and could be destroyed easily
2.     to completely obliterate this idol, and
3.     to make the people pay an immediate consequence of their sin.
Matthew Henry suggests that Moses was trying to prove to the Israelites that they had ‘betaken’ themselves to a god that could not help them. And so it is often with us when we sin. God has to allow things to happen in our lives which will fulfill all these reasons Moses may have had in mind for doing what he did. God has to show us through life’s experiences that what we were pursuing in sin really was wrong, had no real, lasting, or meaningful value; He works to obliterate the sin in our lives so that it no longer can have any influence on us; and in the process, there is usually an immediate consequence, one often imposed by society or those we love, consequences through which we have to suffer and survive. In the end, God is saying to us He alone can bring us what we really need and what we really want and no other god – be it a person, a political ideology, wealth, fame, or pleasure -- can give us that.


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Sign up (on the right) to receive free updates. We bring you relevant information from all sorts of sources. Subscribe for free to this blog or follow us by clicking on the appropriate link in the right side bar. And please share this blog with your friends and while you’re here, why not check out some more of our recent blogs shown in the right hand column.

Also, I’ve read some good books and make some great recommendations for you at http://astore.amazon.com/accorconsu-20 which you can purchase right from there.

Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.

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