then fashioned into a golden calf. The calf Ė bull idol was a common idol in Egypt. Israel had seen the Egyptians worship these false gods for the 40 generations that they lived in Egypt as slaves.

Things were worse than Moses thought. Listen to the Lordís description. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, `These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.í Not only did they make a golden calf but also these people, Godís chosen people, bowed down to the golden calf to worship it. They brought offerings and sacrifices to this lifeless man-made monstrosity. Even worse the people of God gave credit to this idol for delivering them from the hands of the Egyptians. There is only one conclusion to such disobedience. "I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people. Israel no longer wanted to be yoked to the Lord. With stiff necks Israel shook off that yoke which united them with the true God. Idol worship is what Israel wanted.

Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation." Godís anger burns against sin. The Lord would now destroy this nation rather than watch them continually disobey. So be it. The Lord could make another new, great nation out of Moses to replace Israel -- if need be. Godís anger burns against sin that separates.

From the very beginning of time to the time of Moses to our time the sinfulness of mankind has not changed. Already in the second generation of the history of mankind Ė the children of Adam and Eve Ė Cain kills Abel. Sin led to murder. Mankind continued in this great wickedness. At the time of Noah God sent a worldwide flood that destroyed millions of people. Godís anger burns against sin. But believers were spared, Noah and his family. Sadly, nothing has changed concerning sin, sinfulness, and itís grasp on mankind. "The LORD saw how great manís wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time"(GENESIS 6:5). In the recesses of our hearts lurk evil and the desire to do evil.

This evil, which is sin, drives a wedge between God and us. No longer do we see nor know Godís will perfectly in our lives. All of our thoughts are tainted by sin. There is nothing that we say, think or do that has not been tarnished by our sinful nature. As long as we live and breathe in this world and this life we are not exempt from the corruption of sin. This is our constant battle, to discover what God wants, what is his will for us, for our families, our church, our Synod, and our nation. Sin makes our battle doubly difficult. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear"(ISAIAH 59:2). Godís anger burns against sin.

We know how it is today. Many would try to earn heaven