Exodus 32.30-35-Moses Intercedes On Behalf Of Israel A Second Time And The Lord Disciplines Israel With A Plague
Wenstrom Bible Ministries
Pastor-Teacher Bill Wenstrom
Sunday September 2, 2012
Journey Through The Bible Series: Exodus 32:30-35-Moses Intercedes On Behalf Of Israel A Second Time And The Lord Disciplines Israel With A Plague
Lesson # 50
Please turn in your Bibles to Exodus 32:30.
This morning we will study Exodus 32:30-35, which records Moses interceding a second time on behalf of the Israelites and its also records the Lord disciplining Israel with a plague.
Exodus 32:30 On the next day Moses said to the people, “You yourselves have committed a great sin; and now I am going up to the Lord, perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. 32 But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” 33 The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. 34 But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.” 35 Then the Lord smote the people, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron had made. (NASB95)
In Exodus 32:30, Moses tells the Israelites that they have committed a great sin and that he was going back up the mountain to the Lord to intercede on their behalf.
Exodus 32:11-14 records Moses interceding on behalf of Israel as well.
This intercession was according to God’s will and was a demonstration of Moses’ love for the people.
The entire nation was guilty because it was only until Moses arrived on the scene that the worship of the golden calf and partying was put to a stop.
Thus, by nobody in Israel taking offense to Aaron’s decision to make a golden calf and worship it as the Lord, everyone was guilty of idolatry.
They would have been innocent if they did not condone Aaron’s actions and rebuked him for it.
Moses was hoping that the Lord would be satisfied with his actions in putting to death the unrepentant idolaters.
The Israelites had broken their covenant with the Lord, which was symbolized by Moses smashing to pieces the two tablets.
Thus, Moses’ actions in putting to death the guilty as well as his intercession for the nation, was appropriate.
In Exodus 32:31, we see Moses telling the Lord something He already knows, namely the nation of Israel had committed a great sin.
However, Moses is attempting to demonstrate to the Lord that he was not trying to minimize their sin.
Then, in verse 32, Moses pleads with the Lord to forgive the sin of the Israelites and if not, blot him out of the Lord’s book, which He has written.
In Exodus 32:33, the Lord tells Moses that He will only blot out of His book those who have sinned against Him.
The book that Moses and the Lord are referring to is not the “book of life” mentioned in Philippians 4:3 and Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8, 20; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19 and is the registry of all believers from every dispensation of history.
Rather, the book mentioned here by Moses in Exodus 32:32 is actually a registry of those living in Israel at this time.
Those who died were removed from this registry.
Therefore, Moses is offering to die in the place of the idolatrous Israelites but the Lord says to him that those who sinned against Him will die meaning those who were unrepentant will die.
In Exodus 32:34, the Lord tells Moses to lead the people to the place He told him, which of course is the land of Canaan, the land of promise.
He promises Moses that His angel could go before them, which is the preincarnate Christ as we pointed out in previous studies in the book of Exodus.
So Moses’ intercession has succeeded as evidenced by the fact that the Lord wants Moses to continue to lead the Israelites to the land of Canaan, which He promises to give to them.
Also, the Lord promises Moses that He will punish the Israelites for their sin sometime in the future.
The phrase “in the day” in the Hebrew actually should be translated “during a period of time” referring to an undefined period of time.
This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Lord did discipline the Exodus generation in that everyone in this generation did not enter the promise land but rather died the sin unto death, i.e. dying discipline except for Joshua and Caleb and their families.
Numbers 14 records the Lord telling Moses this.
The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:5 makes mention of this as well and thus the Lord did discipline the nation but not all at once.
The Lord temporarily postponed His destruction of the Exodus generation in order to allow time for a new generation in Israel to arise to replace the Exodus generation who He will eventually destroy in the wilderness.
The Lord temporarily postponed the destruction of the Exodus generation in order to allow for a replacement generation to arise.
It was not delayed because of Moses’ intercession but because of God’s unconditional promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who were the progenitors of the nation of Israel (c.f. Deuteronomy 9:5).
Exodus 32:35 records the ultimate fulfillment of the initial execution of God’s punishment of Israel for their idolatry.
Therefore, the destruction of the Exodus generation did not take place immediately because of God’s unconditional promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which Moses appeals to when interceding for the nation.