October 17, 2021 Service
Building a People of God with Unusual Characters: Moses, Part V: Wrestling With Unruly Israel
      • Isaiah 63:7–14HCSB

  • After the March Out of Egypt

    God was at work for his people:
    Pillar of Cloud, Pillar of Fire; Quail and water and manna.
    A pursuing pharaoh, and and opened sea.
    The destruction of Pharaoh’s army.

    A God Who Spoke in Thunder

    As the people were gathered around the Mountain of God, they heard the roar of God’s voice as he spoke the 10 commandments
    Exodus 19:17 CSB
    17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
    Exodus 19:19 CSB
    19 As the sound of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him in the thunder.
    Exodus 20:1 CSB
    1 Then God spoke all these words:
    And so the Ten Commandments were given within the hearing of God.
    But these were said to...

    A People Who Didn’t Want to Hear

    They were only used to hearing from priests; Not directly from the gods of Egypt. So when the God of Creation spoke, they were simply unprepared:
    Exodus 20:18 CSB
    18 All the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the ram’s horn, and the mountain surrounded by smoke. When the people saw it they trembled and stood at a distance.

    Moses Was Asked To Become A Priest

    Because the people were afraid of God’s voice:
    Exodus 20:19 CSB
    19 “You speak to us, and we will listen,” they said to Moses, “but don’t let God speak to us, or we will die.”
    Exodus 20:21 CSB
    21 And the people remained standing at a distance as Moses approached the total darkness where God was.

    Moses Heard More Laws from God

    For the next 10 chapters, Moses is receiving God's laws for the people.
    >>>Including one that the people were going to keep on breaking.
    Exodus 20:23 CSB
    23 Do not make gods of silver to rival me; do not make gods of gold for yourselves.
    But the first time they broke it was when as Moses was in the process of hearing other important laws of God, after God had invited the elders of Israel to get kind of a quick vision of God in Chapter 24.
    Now these laws are all given so that God’s people will have a special identity among all the people of the earth.

    God Tells Moses to Come Up the Mountain

    God then told Moses:
    Exodus 24:12 CSB
    12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and stay there so that I may give you the stone tablets with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.”
    So Moses took Joshua up the mountain with him, and told the elders to wait until Moses comes back.
    He gave them simple instructions, and let them know that they weren’t going to be left all alone:
    Exodus 24:14 CSB
    14 He told the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. Aaron and Hur are here with you. Whoever has a dispute should go to them.”
    Then God covered the mountain again with his presence.
    And it was awesome.
    The point of my message this morning is not so much the interaction of God and Moses concerning the Law,
    >>>but we need to start with. . .

    Moses On the Mountain of God

    So that we have the immediate context of Wrestling With Unruly People.
    God at first was quiet when Moses entered the cloud. In fact for most of the week—until the 7th day when he called Moses from the cloud.
    Exodus 24:17
    Exodus 24:17 CSB
    17 The appearance of the Lord’s glory to the Israelites was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop.
    That was fine for Moses, but he had no witnesses, and the Israelites didn’t really know what was up when. . .

    Moses Entered In to God’s Presence

    Exodus 24:18 CSB
    18 Moses entered the cloud as he went up the mountain, and he remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
    The people got really antsy at Moses entering the cloud and fire of the presence of God on the mountain.
    It was a good time for Moses, as God laid out the instructions for the tabernacle, the ark, the furnishings, priests robes, the ephod, wash basin, altar, incense, sacrifices, and the setting of the utensils in the tabernacle and so much more.
    >>>All these things God put in place so that the people could practice the majesty of God in their times of worship.

    God’s Gifts of His Spirit and Talents

    As we get to Exodus 31, God tells Moses that he knows whom he should ask to do the crafting of all the things for the tabernacle.
    Exodus 31:1–3 CSB
    1 The Lord also spoke to Moses: 2 “Look, I have appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft
    Exodus 31:6 CSB
    6 I have also selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be with him. I have put wisdom in the heart of every skilled artisan in order to make all that I have commanded you:

    God Commands the Sabbath

    Exodus 31:12–13 CSB
    12 The Lord said to Moses, 13 “Tell the Israelites: You must observe my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, so that you will know that I am the Lord who consecrates you.

    The Sabbath Is a Sign of God’s Covenant

    Exodus 31:17 CSB
    17 It is a sign forever between me and the Israelites, for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, but on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”

    God’s Commands are Written in Stone

    —Since the Israelites could not endure the voice of the Holy One of Heaven.
    This is not the last time there will be tablets of stone for God’s commands. But this is a unique and irreplaceable testimony of God’s law given this time on the Mountain, as we read. . .
    Exodus 31:18 CSB
    18 When he finished speaking with Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the testimony, stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God.

    The Israelites Become Unruly

    You remember I said that the Israelites would become particularly prone to breaking one of God’s most basic rules for setting them apart from all other people?
    Well, stay tuned, we are about to discover the depth of their disease of selfish sin.
    After arriving at Sinai, to the mountain of God, in exactly 3 months, their Prophet-Priest-Protector Moses had left them for the fiery Mountain of God for a month and a half.
    I guess it could be that one of the reasons we decide how to make up our own standards about what we should believe about God is because we are an impatient creation, living in 10-minute segments of stories instead of patiently waiting to get the whole story.
    >>>So we come to the incredible story of . . .

    Israel’s Demand for Idols

    in Exodus 32. It begins with their antsy impatience, mixed with fear because of their fear of man instead of their fear of God.
    >>>>So they accosted Aaron with their demands:
    Exodus 32:1 CSB
    1 When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come, make gods for us who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!”
    Now, I might have expected Aaron to have a better backbone and stand up to the people, because he had been alongside Moses through all the conversations with the Elders of Israel and with Pharaoh, and seen first-hand the mighty miracles that God was working to force Pharaoh to let the people go.
    >>>But now, it seems that

    Aaron Quickly Caves In

    to the pressures of the people, kind of proving that he was not supposed to be the leader of the people, just Moses’ stand-in while he was gone.
    Exodus 32:2 CSB
    2 Aaron replied to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.”
    Exodus 32:3 CSB
    3 So all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron.

    Aaron Crafts the Golden Calf

    As he took the gold
    Which was in direct defiance of the Second Commandment spoken in the People’s hearing:
    Exodus 20:4 CSB
    4 Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.
    and this was the first law repeated to Moses when the people backed off:
    Exodus 20:23 CSB
    23 Do not make gods of silver to rival me; do not make gods of gold for yourselves.
    And yet Aaron did exactly what God had commanded them not to do:
    Exodus 32:4 CSB
    4 He took the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf. Then they said, “Israel, these are your gods, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”
    So Aaron made the calf from all the gold that was brought to him, and was the craftsman who formed it into calf with and engraving tool.
    Then the leaders of Israel spoke to the people this amazing blasphemy: Behold your gods who brought you out of Egypt!
    So, instead of standing up and defending Yahweh God who had spoken to him with Moses, Aaron got right into the spirit of what was happening:
    Exodus 32:5 CSB
    5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of it and made an announcement: “There will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow.”
    Exodus 32:6 CSB
    6 Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to party.

    Whose People Are These?

    God’s Complaint Against Moses’ People

    Exodus 32:7 CSB
    7 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go down at once! For your people you brought up from the land of Egypt have acted corruptly.
    And this caused God to disown them out of hand:
    Exodus 32:8 CSB
    8 They have quickly turned from the way I commanded them; they have made for themselves an image of a calf. They have bowed down to it, sacrificed to it, and said, ‘Israel, these are your gods, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ ”
    God is incensed at this behavior. After all he had done for them, they still go their own ways and follow the ways of the world instead of following the ways of God
    Exodus 32:9 CSB
    9 The Lord also said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and they are indeed a stiff-necked people.
    So, incredibly, God blames Moses. “Did you see what your people have done?”
    This is almost like living in a family where the children find out how to pit one parent against the other:
    >>>Do you know what your son did? and so. . .

    God Is Ready To Destroy Israel

    Exodus 32:10 CSB
    10 Now leave me alone, so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

    Moses Turns the People’s Predicament Back to God

    Exodus 32:11 CSB
    11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God: “Lord, why does your anger burn against your people you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a strong hand?
    God had said to Moses, “your people your brought from Egypt”
    Now Moses says to God:
    “These are YOUR people you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a strong hand.”
    It’s like Moses is saying, “Wait a minute now: you’re the one with the power and strength to get us out of Egypt: These are YOUR people so

    Moses Intercedes for Israel

    Exodus 32:13 CSB
    13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel—you swore to them by yourself and declared, ‘I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and will give your offspring all this land that I have promised, and they will inherit it forever.’ ”

    God Relents

    Exodus 32:14 CSB
    14 So the Lord relented concerning the disaster he had said he would bring on his people.

    Wrestling With These Unruly People

    Exodus 32:15–16 CSB
    15 Then Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides—inscribed front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was God’s writing, engraved on the tablets.

    Moses’ Rage For God’s Sake

    Exodus 32:19 CSB
    19 As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became enraged and threw the tablets out of his hands, smashing them at the base of the mountain.

    The People’s Gold Is Made to Disappear

    Exodus 32:20 CSB
    20 He took the calf they had made, burned it up, and ground it to powder. He scattered the powder over the surface of the water and forced the Israelites to drink the water.

    Moses Confronts His Older Brother:

    Exodus 32:21 CSB
    21 Then Moses asked Aaron, “What did these people do to you that you have led them into such a grave sin?”

    Aaron’s Foolish Answer:

    Exodus 32:23 CSB
    23 They said to me, ‘Make gods for us who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’
    Exodus 32:24 CSB
    24 So I said to them, ‘Whoever has gold, take it off,’ and they gave it to me. When I threw it into the fire, out came this calf!”
    Wait—wait a minute—What did Aaron say?
    “When I threw it into the fire, out came this calf”
    As if the gold had its own life.

    God Is Ready to Leave Israel

    Exodus 33:5 CSB
    5 For the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites: You are a stiff-necked people. If I went up with you for a single moment, I would destroy you. Now take off your jewelry, and I will decide what to do with you.”

    Face to Face with God

    Exodus 33:11 CSB
    11 The Lord would speak with Moses face to face, just as a man speaks with his friend, then Moses would return to the camp. His assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent.

    Moses Pleads for Israel

    Exodus 33:13 CSB
    13 Now if I have indeed found favor with you, please teach me your ways, and I will know you, so that I may find favor with you. Now consider that this nation is your people.”

    God Will Continue With Israel

    Exodus 33:14 CSB
    14 And he replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
    Exodus 33:15–16 CSB
    15 “If your presence does not go,” Moses responded to him, “don’t make us go up from here. 16 How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us? I and your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth.”
    Exodus 33:17 CSB
    17 The Lord answered Moses, “I will do this very thing you have asked, for you have found favor with me, and I know you by name.”
    Exodus 33:4–9 CSB
    4 When the people heard this bad news, they mourned and didn’t put on their jewelry. 5 For the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites: You are a stiff-necked people. If I went up with you for a single moment, I would destroy you. Now take off your jewelry, and I will decide what to do with you.” 6 So the Israelites remained stripped of their jewelry from Mount Horeb onward. 7 Now Moses took a tent and pitched it outside the camp, at a distance from the camp; he called it the tent of meeting. Anyone who wanted to consult the Lord would go to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp. 8 Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would stand up, each one at the door of his tent, and they would watch Moses until he entered the tent. 9 When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance to the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses.
      • Exodus 19:17HCSB

      • Exodus 19:19HCSB

      • Exodus 20:1HCSB

      • Exodus 20:18HCSB

      • Exodus 20:19HCSB

      • Exodus 20:21HCSB

      • Exodus 20:23HCSB

      • Exodus 24:12HCSB

      • Exodus 24:14HCSB

      • Exodus 24:17HCSB

      • Exodus 24:18HCSB

      • Exodus 31:1–3HCSB

      • Exodus 31:6HCSB

      • Exodus 31:12–13HCSB

      • Exodus 31:17HCSB

      • Exodus 31:18HCSB

      • Exodus 32:1HCSB

      • Exodus 32:2HCSB

      • Exodus 32:3HCSB

      • Exodus 20:4HCSB

      • Exodus 20:23HCSB

      • Exodus 32:4HCSB

      • Exodus 32:5HCSB

      • Exodus 32:6HCSB

      • Exodus 32:7HCSB

      • Exodus 32:8HCSB

      • Exodus 32:9HCSB

      • Exodus 32:10HCSB

      • Exodus 32:11HCSB

      • Exodus 32:13HCSB

      • Exodus 32:14HCSB

      • Exodus 32:15–16HCSB

      • Exodus 32:19HCSB

      • Exodus 32:20HCSB

      • Exodus 32:21HCSB

      • Exodus 32:23HCSB

      • Exodus 32:24HCSB

      • Exodus 33:5HCSB

      • Exodus 33:11HCSB

      • Exodus 33:13HCSB

      • Exodus 33:14HCSB

      • Exodus 33:15–16HCSB

      • Exodus 33:17HCSB

      • Exodus 33:4–9HCSB

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