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Expositing the Golden Calf

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They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'"And the Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you."

The first lesson from these concluding verses is that God sees and understands everything. When we stand before Him we will not be able to lie to Him as we do to our own hearts so easily. Let us not lose sight of the sincerity of the Israelites here. They were dancing and sacrificing, and celebrating god. They just refused to see it as a false god. They refused to see it as a god of their own crafting. They were sincere but sincerely wrong. So often I hear the same lament when false teaching is corrected - "You don't know their heart!" I do not have to. Their sincerity is irrelevant. My sincerity is irrelevant. God does not want sacrifice as much as obedience. What we wanted to believe will not save us. Only what we do believe.

The line that sticks out here however is - "They have turned aside quickly out of the way I commanded them." They sure did. So do we though; don't we? How quickly do we give in to anything that scratches our itching ears? The newest fad comes along and we go chasing the wind again. A new movie comes out that pays lip service to Christianity and that's good enough for us. The hottest speaker is coming to town and we do not bother to check if what he is saying actually lines up with the Word of God. Realize that the Benny Hinn's and Joel Osteen's of the world exist because they preach what people want to hear. The Bible says that we will gather around ourselves men to preach what we want to hear. That sound doctrine will not even be tolerated anymore. I can tell you first hand the anger and vitriol that the truth is often met with. We are a stiff necked people beloved and we need to take heed of the Word of God.

The story of the golden calf is for our benefit. Do not listen to snake oil salesmen who try to dismiss the entire Old Testament. It is the same God. We have a better covenant based not upon our works but the finished work of Christ but God is still God. He still sees and understands everything. He sees the golden calves we worship and dance around every Sunday. What is His charge against us? - How quickly they have turned aside from what I commanded them! You want consistency across the ages? Here is what the charge will be from Jesus on the last day to those who stand before Him saying Lord Lord:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' - Matthew 7: 21-23 (ESV)

How quickly they have turned aside from what I commanded them - depart from me you workers of lawlessness. Are we sensing the theme here? It is not about our sincerity. It is not about how many times we say the name Jesus. It is not about how many people come up for a contrived altar call to serve a golden calf. It is about his Word. It is about what He has commanded us. The rest of it? The lights and glitz? The pomp and show? It is all just pagan revelry at the end of the day. Dancing around a god we crafted ourselves.

Reverend Anthony Wade - October 30, 2014

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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