Summary: Were it not for the intercession of Moses, the Israelites would have been destroyed. This message shows us that only God is to be worshiped. It also teaches us the value of intercessory prayer.
ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD
INTRODUCTION: All that glitters is not gold. While Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, something dreadfully wrong was happening below among Aaron and the Israelites. They had fashioned a golden calf to be an object of worship. Were it not for the intercession of Moses, God would have destroyed every last one of them. From this account, God desires to teach us that He and He alone is worthy of worship, and also the value of intercessory prayer.
I. DELAY DOSEN’T MEAN DENIAL
1. “When the people saw”—the decision of God’s people to act apart from following God’s will was based upon what they could “see” (v. 1).
a. Moses was in the presence of the One true God.
b. God was in the process of revealing His divine plan for His people for the ages.
c. What could be more important than waiting until they heard from God?
ILLUSTRATE: Abraham and Sarah mistakenly thought that God had forgotten His promise to give them a son—or perhaps had simply waited too long. They took matters into their own hands, and today the world is still paying the price for their folly. Genesis 16:1-12 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. . . And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
2. The people told Aaron to make them “gods which shall go before us.”
3. After all the mighty works they had seen God do, they still had not learned the lesson, that it was God leading them and not Moses (v. 1). Just look at what they saw God do:
a. Crossing the Red Sea
b. Bitter waters made sweet
c. Manna supplied
d. Quail supplied
e. Water from the rock in Rephidim
f. Defeat of Amalek
4. They gave their gold earrings to Aaron to make the calf idol (v. 2,3). If there was an offering to give, it should have been given to the true God.
5. Yet, up until this point God had not required an offering from them. Sadly, they were willing to give to a false god, but wouldn’t give the offering of obedience to the One True God.
6. How often do God’s people today give of their time, effort, loyalty, and substance to the things of pleasure and interest to us, only to have nothing left for God?
7. After Aaron made the idol, he declared “these be thy gods” (v. 4). How sad that after all God had done for them that they gave the false god of gold the glory for bringing them up out of Egypt.
II. DELAY IS NEVER AN EXCUSE TO DIMINISH GOD’S GLORY
1. Aaron not only committed the sin of making an idol, he built an altar to it. The altar was and is to be:
a. A place of worship
b. A place of sacrifice
c. A place of consecration
2. He proclaimed that the next day was a “feast to the Lord.” Note that he was saying that the feast was to the true God. We know this because he used the name “Jehovah” translated here “Lord.”
3. The next morning the people made offerings to the true God while at the same time eating, drinking, and playing (v. 6). When the Bible says “play” it is a way of telling us they were indulging in sexual immorality (see verse 25).
4. When we attempt to mix our own selfish desire for pleasure with worship of the One true God, it is a polluted worship, and it becomes a stench in the nostrils of a holy God! GOD WILL SHARE HIS GLORY WITH NO ONE OR THING! ILLUSTRATE: I once refused to perform a marriage for a couple when the bride-to-be told me that she would marry the man, but was unwilling to forsake her other lovers. Isn’t that what we do to God when we expect Him to share our love with other things.