Exodus: Rebellion and Forgiveness

Exodus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  39:23
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Principals to live by
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Examples to learn from

Moses and God finishing business on the mountain…
Exodus 32:7 NIV84
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt.
What happened?

Exodus 32:1-6

Couldn’t last a month.
Moses was gone
God seemed to be gone since the fire and smoke were no longer there.
We have heard the plans God had for the Israelites…but they haven’t heard yet.
In their minds, they are lost in the desert and the one who brought them out is gone.
Let’s go back to what is familiar…in Egypt, we had images to follow.
But this was in direct opposition to the first two commandments that Moses had passed along to them from God....No idols…why? Why not have something that would remind us of God? Because he wants all our attention, he deserves all our attention.
He had delivered them, fed them, protected them, watered them. He shoudl be due their attention, but since they didn’t think they had his, they sought moved on.
God wanted going to wipe them out.
God’s anger didn’t burn against the Canaanites or the and all the other “ites”…his anger burned against the Israelites who were rejecting him, who were breaking his covenant.
But Moses wouldn’t let God do that.
Moses interceded, reminding God of his promises to Abraham. He reminded him about His signs to Pharaoh. He reminded God of his promises.
Exodus 32:14 NIV84
Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
SO Moses went down and saw for himself and when he got there he broke the stone tablets that GOd have given him…telling the people that they had broken the covenant.
Exodus 32:19 NIV84
When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain.
He was MAD.
When he called out Aaron, all he got were excuses
Regardless of how it happened, there were consequences to sinning against God.
Exodus 32:26 NIV84
So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.
Even though the consequences were being addressed, there had to be an atonement for the sin of the people.
Exodus 32:30 NIV84
The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
But there would be more consequences.
God would not lead the people any longer.
There would be a resulting plague.
Here’s what you need to remember today. If you forget everything else about the text today…I’m not sure how you could, but if you did, I want you to remember this. You might want to write it down somewhere...

Choose first the God who chose you first.

I’ve told you before that I am was adopted as a child. I’ve always known that I was adopted and that from my earliest memories, I can remember my dad telling me that I was chosen. That they picked me to love me, nothing else.
I had a friend who was also adopted. She also knew from her earliest memories that she was adopted. I’m sure her parents loved her and probably told her something similar, but I don’t know for sure. But what I do know is that she grew up always fighting back against the love of the ones who chose her. She consistently gave other relationships and possessions the attention of her heart more than the ones who had chosen to love her first.
And there were consequences to that. They were always fighting and arguing. It affected everyone in the family.
There are consequences to failing to chose first the God who first loved us.
It’s idolatry.
It’s what the Commandments were all about…putting God first.
How do you respond when you get impatient or anxious? When you get tired or afraid? Do you turn to God or someone else? or something else? What do you choose?
If it’s not God, it’s an idol.

What are you most afraid of?

What are you most afraid of? “I don’t want to get sick?” “I don’t want to be alone?” “I don’t want my spouse to die?” “I don’t want to be at the funeral of my child?” “I don’t want to lose my job?” “I don’t want to lose my last friend?” What are you most afraid of? Behind that may be your idol.

What do you long for most passionately?

What gets you up in the morning? Why do you go to work? Why do you pray? Why do you care? Why do you strive? Why do you try?

Where do you run for comfort?

Things go bad, you’re stressed…do you run to alcohol? Do you run to food? Do you run to pornography? Do you run to vice? Do you get angry? Do you curse? Do you just go to bed and pull the covers over your head and pretend that it’s all going away?

What do you complain about most?

Probably indicates something that you’re very frustrated with, and if you’re frustrated with it, it’s because you value it so much, and it’s not being or doing what you want or need, perceptibly, for it to be or do.

What angers you the most?

What just makes you furious? Is it when Jesus is not taught properly? Does it have anything to do with Jesus or is it all about you? All of your anger is about you. It’s not about the people who are suffering or the name of Jesus being dishonored. What angers you?

What makes you happiest?

What are the best memories in your life? “Oh, if I could just do that again.”

How do you explain yourself to other people?

“Hi, my name is so-in-so. [Fill in the blank].” “I’m married.” “I have kids.” “I am a lawyer…” How we explain ourselves may indicate our identity. See, idolatry is building your life on anyone or anything other than Jesus…

What has caused you to be angry at God?

“God, how dare you let me lose my job!” “How dare you let my spouse die!” “How dare you let me not have children!” “How dare you let my children wander away from you!” “How dare you let those people say those things about me!” What you’re saying is, “God, how dare you take my idol.”

What do I want to have more than anything else?

That’s a good question to ask yourself—the proverbial genie-in-a-bottle question. If I came up and said, “One wish: anything you want.” Is it, “Love Jesus”? You go, “Well, no.” Okay, then, that’s the wrong answer…

What do you make the biggest sacrifices for?

Time, energy, money, effort, long hours, lots of money, devotion. What’s on your mind when you can’t sleep? What are you thinking about? Is it Jesus?

Whose approval are you seeking?

Is it Jesus?

And what do you treasure the most?

What is the one person or thing that if taken from you—that would ruin everything? Is it Jesus?
*Mark Driscoll @Jubilee Church London
Idols don’t have to be bad things…very often in fact they are good things that are used for wrong reasons.
Sometimes they are bad things used for good reasons as well. Idolatry…even when we do it for noble reasons…using something to point us to God.
Romans 1:21–25 NIV84
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Idolatry would be an on going problem for the Israelites.
1 Corinthians 8:4 NIV84
So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one.
He gave us Jesus.
We have Jesus to point us to God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV84
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
We can experience Jesus. Have a living relationship with Jesus.
Talk to Jesus
Listen to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Serve Jesus
Jesus isn’t an idol…Jesus is God.
But Idolatry affects the whole church…when one person is caught up in it, it spreads. That's what happened in the camp of the Israelites, that's why the whole nation had to suffer the consequences.
Galatians 6:1 NIV84
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.




Read Exodus 32.
What is your most valuable physical possession?


What are some startling elements of this chapter? What struck you most personally concerning the actions, emotions and words of Aaron, the people, God and Moses?
In verses 1-6, what belief drives the people of Israel to make an idol? Who gives the motivating instruction and does the main work of making the idol? Where did the people get the materials to construct the idol?
Look at verses 7-10. What is God’s response to the actions of Israel? What specifically about Israel’s actions angers God?
How do Moses’ prayers in verses 11-13 and 31 remind you of the ministry of Jesus Christ?


Who is someone for whom you regularly pray regarding their rejection of God? What can we learn from Moses’ posture and attitude when it comes to how we pray for the disobedient around us?
Have a group member read 1 Corinthians 10:1-14. What forms of idolatry make their way into the modern church? In practical terms, how can we flee from them?


What attribute of God did you see in this week’s passage that particularly struck you? How should it change the way you pray, think, speak or act this week?


Set aside a time this week for your family to read Exodus 32. After reading the chapter, discuss these questions with one another.
// What is “idolatry”? Is there anything in your life that is so important it rivals or outpaces God?
// Read verse 24 again. Have you ever lied to try to cover up something wrong? How did it go?
// Why is it so hard to follow God’s laws? Should we just give up trying?
// What do you think it means to follow God’s laws through “grace-driven effort”? Why do we want God to be first in our life?


Leverage opportunities in the course of everyday life to remind each other that God is what is best.
God is worthy—only God deserves all glory.
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