Bible Study

This is a copy of the Sunday School Lessons presented to an adult class each Sunday.

Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States

Retired, Lobbyist in Washington,DC - Management - BS Chemistry and various continuing education courses

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bible Study - Count - Stand for the Lord - Exodus 32 - November 13, 2011

Revision - The Israelites had placed their faith in Moses and not GOD. When Moses was gone for 40 days, the Israelites abandoned GOD and reverted abck to pagan worship. The question is do we have preacher religion or do we place our faiith in GOD?
Bible Study – Count – Stand for the Lord – November 13, 2011

This is lesson two (2) in our series entitled “Make Your Life Count.”

Our scripture is Exodus 32:7-20, 25-26.

Our overarching theme is to make your life count.

Most people want to please their boss. In our last study, we studied the call
of GOD into HIS service. I know that many people are out of jobs and stand on
pins and needles waiting for that special call, “Please report to work at a
certain place, day, time, salary and benefits.” Once they receive the call and
report for work, they want to do the best job possible. As they work, they get
to know their fellow workers, their boss, the company’s leadership, its
expectations, requirements and rules.

Moses had been called to do the will of GOD. He was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. GOD accomplished this through Moses. In obediently serving GOD, Moses was building an intimate relationship with GOD. He was getting to know GOD and understand GOD. When we read and study the books that Moses wrote, we also get to know about GOD and how HE worked through Moses and in the lives of various servants of GOD.

Moses was no different from Christians today who desire to build an intimate, loving relationship with GOD through CHRIST. As Christians obediently serve GOD, they build a relationship with HIM and get to really know HIM. It is an awesome journey. But it takes the Christian to be willing to surrender his/her life to say, “LORD here I am as I am, take me and use me according to YOUR will and purpose.” Will it be smooth sailing from then on? No. Moses had many rough spots along his journey with GOD. But those rough spots are moments for teaching and learning from GOD.

In last week’s lesson, we examined the call of Moses. We saw that Moses questioned GOD but in doing so he got to know GOD. The beauty is that as we read and study the interaction between Moses and GOD we also get to know about GOD. There is a vast difference between knowing about GOD and knowing GOD. As Christians obediently serve GOD, through CHRIST, they get to build an intimate relationship with GOD and to begin to understand GOD the mind of GOD. This does not happen overnight but it happens through the process of sanctification.

We fast forward in scripture from last week’s call of Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egypt to them arriving at Mount Sinai, just a GOD promised Moses when HE called him.

We need to keep in mind that GOD knows people intimately. HE knows what makes them tick. HE knows what will bring out the best and the worst in people for a purpose. HE wants HIS chosen to see where they are in relationship with HIM and HE wants them to grow in service to HIM and knowledge of HIM.

We need to keep in mind that GOD was revealing Himself and the boundaries for those who choose to build a relationship with HIM.

Let’s read Exodus 19:1-8: (Background – notice verse 8.)
Israel at Sinai
1 In the third month, on the same day [of the month]* The bracketed text has been added for clarity. that the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, they entered the Wilderness of Sinai.
2 After they departed from Rephidim, they entered the Wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness, and Israel camped there in front of the mountain.
3 Moses went up [the mountain]* The bracketed text has been added
for clarity. to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain: “This is what you must say to the house of Jacob, and explain to the Israelites:
4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.
5 Now if you will listen to Me and carefully keep My covenant, you will be My own
possession out of all the peoples, although all the earth is Mine,[1]
Dt 26:18; Ps

6 and you will be My kingdom of priests and My holy nation.[2] 1 Pt
; Rv 1:6 These are the words that you are to say to the Israelites.”
7 After Moses came back, He summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him.
8 Then all the people responded together, “We will do all that the Lord has spoken.” So Moses brought the people’s words back to the Lord.

The Israelites agreed to covenant with GOD and to obediently serve HIM. Moses made several trips up and down the mountain to receive instructions from GOD regarding the way they should worship HIM - Ten Commandments, laws governing interaction with each other, worship, various instructions – Tabernacle, Ark, Table, Priestly garments, anointing oil, etc.

The Bible reveals that Moses was up on the mountain for an extended period of time receiving these instructions in Exodus 24:12-18: (Notice verse 18)

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 commands I have written for their instruction.”
13 So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and went up the mountain of God.
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.”
15 When Moses went up the mountain, the cloud covered it.
16 The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day He called to Moses from the cloud.
17 The appearance of the Lord’s glory to the Israelites was like a consuming fire[3] Dt 4:24; Heb 12:29 on the mountaintop.
18 Moses entered the cloud as he went up the mountain, and he remained on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights.

Moses had left Aaron and Hur in charge while he went up the mountain for this extended meeting with GOD to get instructions from GOD. But as time marched on, those left behind got restless. The people went to Aaron. They felt abandoned by Moses and GOD. How would Aaron handle this crisis? What does this reveal about the heart of Aaron and the people? Did GOD keep Moses on the mountain to allow the hearts of the people to be revealed so the healing of their hearts could take place?

Does GOD allow us to wait and feel abandoned to let us see our hearts? Let’s explore.

Let’s read Exodus 32:7-14:
7 The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go down at once! For your people you brought up from the land of Egypt have acted corruptly.
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, this is your God,[4] Or Israel, this is your god, or Israel, these are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ ”
9 The Lord also said to Moses: “I have seen this people, and they are indeed a stiff-necked people.
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.”
11 But Moses interceded with 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?
12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He brought them out with an evil intent to kill them in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from Your great anger and change Your mind about this disaster [planned]* The bracketed
text has been added for clarity. for Your people.
13 Remember that You swore to Your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel by Yourself and declared to them, ‘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]* The bracketed text has been added for clarity. forever.’ ”[5] Gn 15:5; 22:17; 26:4; 28:13–14
14 So the Lord changed His mind about the disaster He said He would bring on His people.

GOD revealed HIS nature regarding disobedience and sin. GOD knew what was
happening with the Israelites while Moses was on the mountain with HIM. We see
HIS disgust with the Israelites who had been delivered form Egyptian bondage, experienced the miracles of GOD along their journey to Mount Sinai. They had arrived safely to the place where GOD revealed Himself to them and they agreed to be HIS people. They knew intellectually that GOD was real, when HE said, “For your
people --- have acted corruptly” - not “MY” people but “your” people. GOD disowned the Israelites and called them Moses people.

GOD revealed to Moses what they had done while he was on the mountain with HIM. Moses got the message that GOD was very angry. GOD hates substitute gods. There is only one true GOD and that is HIM. They actually worshipped this golden calf and attributed their deliverance to this chunk of metal. How sad. They had reverted back to pagan practices, how disgusting!!!

GOD told Moses that the Israelites were a stiff necked people. When an animal that pulls a cart or plow is referred to as stiff necked, it refuses to do what the driver wants it to do. The animal is stubborn, resistant and disobedient to what its master’s desires for it to do. This reflected the attitude of the Israelites toward GOD and HE was angry.

GOD was ready to destroy the Israelites. How would Moses handle GOD being
so upset? Moses reminded GOD that HE brought them out of Egypt, Moses was the
obedient servant. Was this an ego check for Moses? Also, notice that, in essence, GOD told Moses that HE would destroy these people and start over using him as the patriarch. Now that must have gotten Moses’ attention. But Moses ego was in-check. Moses wanted GOD’S original plan to succeed. Starting over was not an option. When GOD’S plan becomes our plan then we can obediently serve HIM.

He reminded GOD that HE had made promises to Abraham and his descendants.
Moses knew that GOD honored HIS promises and commitments. GOD must have
thought, Moses do you hear what you are saying?

MY, MY you have really grown. GOD changed HIS mind. Now, Moses was ready
to confront the people about their sins. GOD does not take sin lightly and neither does HE want those who serve HIM to take sin lightly.

Consider the Spiritual growth of Moses from the time he was called by GOD to serve HIM on Mount Horeb to this point in his journey with GOD. He now knew and understood GOD better. He had gone from being timid and resistant to being a strong capable leader. He knew the boundaries of GOD and understood what HE
wanted to accomplish through HIS chosen people. Israel was to represent HIM to
the world. The Israelites were HIS chosen people.

This is what Christians are to do. Christians are HIS chosen people to be HIS representatives to those who are lost and in need of salvation through a personal relationship with CHRIST. The more we serve HIM, the more we know HIM and the more we know HIM, the more we reflect HIM.

GOD tested Moses. HE wanted Moses to have the opportunity see how much he
had grown Spiritually and as a leader.

Often, reviewing where we were and where we are is vital.

A Spiritual check-up is vital when we serve our LORD to determine whether or
not we are still on mission. GOD already knows but we need to verbalize it.
Why? It is because we are human and GOD knows that we need to stay focused. HE
knows that our enemy Satan can appeal to our flesh and attempt to lead us contrary to HIS will.

Moses reminded GOD what HE had accomplished. Notice, what GOD had
accomplished and not what Moses had accomplished. This was important for Moses
to verbalize. It is easy for those serving GOD to get the big head and think,
“Look, what I did.” GOD gives us assignments too big for us to accomplish, so
that when they are accomplished, we can only point to GOD and rejoice in HIS
handiwork. Moses knew that only GOD could accomplish the deliverance of the
Israelites. GOD delivered a million people from Egyptian slavery. This was an
awesome task which could only be accomplished by GOD.

Moses attempted to put a guilt trip on GOD by saying that the Egyptians would say that their GOD delivered them from Egypt to kill them. GOD must have thought, gee, Moses is not holding anything back. He has really grown and matured Spiritually. Moses was not being hateful but reasoning with GOD. GOD likes for HIS children to reason with HIM but HE does not like for them to shake their fist at HIM. Abraham reasoned with GOD over Sodom in Genesis 18:22-33. Wisdom comes from GOD and when HIS children wisely reason with HIM, it reflects that their hearts have been changed by their walk with HIM.

Isaiah 1:18:
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they
shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth
of the LORD hath spoken it.

GOD changed HIS mind. Since GOD is all knowing, HE knew the end result of
their conversation but Moses needed to verbalize and reconfirm, in his mind,
the promises and mission of GOD regarding the Israelites. GOD’S mission was
Moses’ mission. We must keep in mind that JESUS, the promised Messiah, would be
coming into the world through Abraham and his descendants.

Let’s read Exodus 32:15-20:
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.
17 When Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a sound of war in the camp.”
18 But Moses replied: It’s not the sound of a victory cry and
not the sound of a cry of defeat; I hear the sound of singing!
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.
20 Then he took the calf they had made, burned [it]* The bracketed text has been added for clarity. up, and ground [it]* The bracketed text has been added for
clarity. to powder. He scattered [the powder]* The bracketed text has been added for clarity. over the surface of the water and forced the Israelites to drink [the water]* The bracketed text has been added for clarity. .

Moses was GOD’S representative to the Israelites. The Israelites had agreed to serve GOD as we read in Exodus 19:8. When he saw that they had abandoned GOD and reverted back to their pagan worship, he got very angry. He threw the stone tablets down with such force that they broke into pieces. This action revealed the heart of Moses toward sin. It is important that Christians take sin seriously. They should get angry over the things that make GOD angry. Christians are to hate the sin but love the sinner.

The Israelites had convinced Aaron to make an idol for them. Aaron took their gold and fashioned a calf. We can read Aaron’s response to his brother in Exodus 32:21-24:
21 And Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people do to you that you have
brought so great a sin upon them?"
22 So Aaron said, "Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the
people, that they are set on evil.
23 "For they said to me, 'Make us gods that shall go before us; as for
this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know
what has become of him.'
24 "And I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.'
So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came

My, my this golden calf just jumped out of the fire. Moses must have said, Aaron give me a break. Do you think I am stupid? But don’t we make excuses when we get caught.

The Israelites turned their allegiance from the true GOD to a false god because Moses was gone longer than they thought he should have been. They took matters into their own hands and Aaron helped them. Although Aaron helped them, we see later that Aaron chose to serve GOD. His heart changed and he learned a vital lesson.

Did GOD keep Moses on the mountain long enough to reveal the true heart of the Israelites? I think so. GOD sometimes allows us to wait because HE knows our hearts and the attitude of our hearts need to be revealed. Once revealed then our attitude can be worked upon. GOD knows us intimately and HIS desire is for us to be made in the image of HIS ONLY SON, JESUS.

In Egypt, Moses had seen the Israelites worshiping the Egyptian gods. They were danced naked and had sex orgies like the Canaanites.

Moses took the golden calf and ground it up and scattered the powder over the water and made them drink it. Moses was very angry and wanted to give them an object lesson that they would remember. By destroying this calf, it showed the calf had no power to defend itself. It was a dumb idol. Moses ground it to powder and made them drink it. I imagine that it had a very unique taste that they would remember. Hopefully they would keep in mind to never do such a thing again. Often, when we sin, GOD allows us to remember that moment so that we will never repeat it again. GOD does not want anything to come between us and HIM.

Let’s read Exodus 32:25-26:
25 Moses saw that the people were out of control, for Aaron had let them get out of control, so that they would be vulnerable to their enemies.
26 And Moses stood at the camp’s entrance and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, [come]* The bracketed text has been added for clarity. to me.” And all the Levites gathered around him.

Moses saw that the Israelites were out of control, gone wild. Some continued to do what they were doing in spite of Moses reaction to what they had done. Moses gave the Israelites a choice. Some continued to enjoy their fleshly moments rather than stopping, repenting and remembering their commitment to the true GOD, Who delivered them out of Egypt.

Compromise makes us vulnerable to both physical and spiritual enemies.
GOD expects unity with HIM and with each other. A house divided cannot stand. A
house must be built upon a solid foundation to withstand the things that would
tear it down.

Moses gave the people a choice. He stood at the entrance to the camp and asked the people to make a choice. Those who chose to serve the LORD should come to him. Aaron and the Levites chose to serve GOD.

Those who chose not to come were killed. Exodus 32:27-29 reveals that about 3,000 men were killed -
27 And he said to them, "Thus says the LORD
God of Israel: 'Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from
entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother,
every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.' "
28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three
thousand men of the people fell that day.
29 Then Moses said, "Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother."
Sin is serious and GOD does not treat it lightly.

But HE does love the sinner because HE allowed HIS ONLY SON, JESUS, to come to
earth and give HIS life to pay the penalty for the sins of all who would believe in HIM.

John 3:16-17 captures the heart of GOD for all people: (JESUS was speaking)
16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Make your life count for GOD by yielding yourself to HIM through CHRIST and then obediently serve HIM as HE leads you. Keep in mind that as you obediently serve HIM, the more you will get to know and understand HIM. Make your life count because you were not made for time but for eternity.


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