Golden Calf, Concluded (Exodus 32:1-29)

Chuck CainOn August 23, 2015, the adult Sunday school class studied Exodus 32:1-29.

The first six verses describe the idolatry of the Israelites as they construct the golden calf. It had not been long ago that they heard God speak the Ten Commandments to them. But now they blatantly violate the first three of those.

The LORD distances himself from Israel by telling Moses, “Go down, for YOUR people, whom YOU brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves.” In verse 10 God threatens to consume them and to make a new nation from the descendants of Moses. Moses intercedes for his people with five arguments: 

– Moses implores God citing your people;
– Moses states that it was the LORD that brought the people out of Egypt with power;
– Moses states that for the sake of his own reputation among the nations, God should preserve   his people;
– Moses asks God for mercy in relenting of this planned disaster;
– Moses asks God to remember the covenant he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.

Verse 14 states that God relented of the planned disaster. We must think of this as an anthropomorphism. That is, this section describes God’s thoughts and actions as if he were a man.

This section displays Moses as the grand intercessor and mediator for his people. In this role he typifies the ultimate intercessor/mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In verse 25 Moses descends from the mountain and upon seeing the idolatry in the camp he breaks the tables of the testimony realizing that his people are unable to keep these commandments.

Moses confronts Aaron with his part in the idolatry, but Aaron blames Moses, the people, and last of all the fire for producing the idol. Moses then commands the Levites to slay the people with the sword. 3,000 fall that day.–Chuck Cain

Listen to “Golden Calf, concluded” (Exodus 32:1-29) at

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