Some things change… and some things stay the same.

That is an ancient quote – yet holds so much wisdom and Truth in it. In Exodus 32 we see this ageless proverb in action as well. The Israelites are still encamped at the base of Mt. Sinai. Moses has been up on the mountain for the past several chapters getting instructions from the Lord on everything from how to construct the tabernacle to how this new nation of people will live day to day. He took his assistant Joshua with him – and left Aaron in charge of the people.

But notice what happens:

When the people saw that Moses was delayed…”Ex 32:1

Even back then the human propensity for impatience was a huge stumbling block. Remember – these people had heard God and seen his presence on the mountain top by smoke and thunder! They all watched Moses and Joshua go up the mountain to speak with the Lord – yet here they were getting impatient. (I can imagine it got pretty boring sitting encamped at the base of that mountain for so long…) In their impatience – they fail to obey God and take matters into their own hands.

Some things stay the same…

So the Bible tells us that the people pressured Aaron into melting all of the gold down and forming a golden calf for them to worship. (This is what they were used to… idol worship was quite prevalent in Egypt!). Aaron does not have the fortitude which Moses has… and caves in to the pressure. So, as we see today, the “Mob Rules” mentality causes the people to get into trouble. Instead of trusting Moses (and Aaron) – they demand their own way and out-muscle their leader.

Some things stay the same…

It also strikes me how quickly the people fall back into their previous habits. We are not told how long Moses was actually up there on that mountain (with Joshua waiting all by himself…) – but it is amazing how the people, when left to their own devices, turn back and repeat the things they know not to do – yet do anyway.

Some things stay the same…

But through all of this – there is a part of this chapter which glows like the dawn of a sunrise. God interrupts His discussion with Moses and informs him that the people are doing a detestable thing down in the valley. Moses, after pleading with God and securing mercy, heads back down the mountain and deals with the people. The calf is destroyed – the people drink their sin – and consequences are experienced. Then, Moses says something interesting…

The next day, Moses said to the people, You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” – Ex 32:30

This act of Moses was not just a random reaction – it is actually a beautiful foreshadow of Jesus. Just as Moses goes before God and speaks on their behalf (intercedes) – in order to gain God’s favor and assuage God’s anger at their sin; Jesus did the same for us! By going to the cross in obedience – and taking upon Himself the penalty for sin – He stayed our execution as a payment for our sin. That is why we no longer see God demanding 3000 people be killed as a result of sin. Yes – sin has it’s consequences… but because of Jesus – there is now great mercy available for us all.

Some things change…

It isn’t the seriousness of sin which has changed – nor is it God’s take on sin – nor is it even the penalty for sin that has changed. What has changed is WHO that penalty get’s laid upon. Jesus took my penalty for my sin – and He wants to take yours as well – If you will let Him…

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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