Mar 21, 2022 – part 1

(Exodus 32, John 11; Optional Psalm 56, Proverbs 15:5-9)

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EXODUS 32 – This is one of those weighty sobering chapters that reminds us of the vital truth of the holiness of God. And that’s NOT just a truth for OT times – Heb 12:29 – “our God is a consuming fire.” And He is the same God who tenderly notices the heartbreak of His people in our Ps 56 reading today and the same God who shows such tender love at the tomb of His friend Lazarus just before raising Him from the dead in our Jn 11 reading today. And don’t miss the incredible mercy even in this chapter of judgment. 1) God sends Moses as mediator to intercede for the people (v 7) and 2) relents from the full judgment they deserve (v 14). Thousands still died from judgment, but they ALL could have righteously been executed and God mercifully spared so many.

Ex 32:1-4 – This was only 40 days after Aaron took part in an awesome experience of the presence of God, with all the people witnessing it and gladly affirming that they would be completely obedient to Yahweh (see Ex 24). The hymn Come Thou Fount is sadly correct: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” Also see Ex 32:8 (“quickly”).

Ex 32:4-5 – The people and Aaron are feeding off each other’s sins in a wicked, downward spiral.

Ex 32:5 – This is called SYNCRETISM when people try to mingle the worship of the one true God with other kinds of worship.

Ex 32:7 – Before God reveals His wrath, He graciously sends a mediator who will intercede for the people, rescuing them FROM His righteous wrath. Oh, what mercy, even in judgment! May we worship God as He truly is, and for ALL that He is, and not try to remake Him into something we’re more comfortable with.

Ex 32:10 – 14 – We glimpse BOTH God’s righteous wrath AND mercy as He listens to the very intercession He had sovereignly sent ahead in v 7. Although v 7 shows the sovereign initiative of God, don’t miss Ps 106:23 to see the God-inspired commentary on how necessary Moses’ intercession was (and to get motivated in your prayer life and encouraged that Jesus makes intercession for believers today – see Lk 22:31-32, Rom 8:34). Let your intercession for others be shaped by this inspired record of successful intercessory prayer – notice that Moses is praying based on appealing to God’s CHARACTER and God’s WORD / PROMISES.

Ex 32:21-24 – Aaron tries an excuse, but God knows what really happened (v 25, cf Prov 15:3).

Ex 32:25-29 – This WAS the proper response in a Theocracy (where God is directly the King), because v 27 shows this was God’s command. But in OUR time, this would NOT be the proper response of the church – God has delegated the power of the sword to civic government (see Rom 13:1-4). But the church IS still to take sin with ultimate seriousness, and we ARE to excommunicate those who are unrepentant – see 1 Cor 5 (still VERY shocking to our modern culture). By God’s grace may we learn to be more surprised at the MERCY shown by God than we are by His righteous judgment. Remember that the most terrifying glimpse of the righteous wrath of God is when we read Isaiah 53:4-10 about God’s Beloved Son taking God’s wrath on behalf of all who would trust in Him. And of course that is ALSO the sweetest taste of the grace and mercy of God that Jesus would CHOOSE all that on our behalf (Jn 10:14-18).