Summary: Pentecost 17(C) - God’s promises do not change. (Israel worships the golden calf.) Just as God’s anger burns against sin even more so God’s love provides forgiveness.

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October 1, 2006 - PENTECOST 17 - Exodus 32:7-14

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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:

Change, change – everywhere changes. All of us are constantly and consistently facing change. How much our world has changed in the last century. There have been drastic and dramatic changes in every generation and every decade of our lives. At times all these changes seem almost too much to handle. It can be discomforting seeing so many things changing so often, so fast and so much. Thus we gather around God’s word today to find the constant that we need in our lives. God does not change. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In the midst of change our God remains the same in our ever-changing society and lives. This is true because God’s word does not change. Just as God’s word does not change so God’s promises do not change. Listen to the words of God through his prophet Moses. "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?"(NUMBERS 23:19). Truly God speaks and then acts, promises and fulfills. Today we are going to study our sure foundation. God’s promises stand as unchanging rock of our salvation.


I. God’s anger burns against sin,

II. God’s love provides forgiveness.


We want to consider the setting for our text this morning. Moses is on Mount Sinai with the Lord. The Lord is giving Moses the commands he wants his people to follow. Fact is, the Lord even writes his commandments on tablets of stone as a permanent record for God’s people. Moses has been communing on Mt. Sinai with the Lord for 40 (forty) days. This is only a bit more than a month. Of course, a lot can change in 40 days. The Lord is about to enlighten Moses about the changes that have taken place among the Israelites since he come to the mountaintop.

In verse 7: Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. Notice the subtle word changes the Lord uses to reveal his anger. The Lord calls the nation of Israel your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt as he speaks to Moses. The disobedience and sin of Israel have separated them from the love of God. The Lord wants nothing to do with these idolaters. The Lord calls them Moses’ people, the people Moses’ delivered.

The Lord now explains to Moses the reason for his anger. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. The Lord in his mercy and love did not change. The people of God had now changed their love for God to a golden calf. Aaron, Moses’ brother, who was left in charge, gathered the gold that the people had brought out of Egypt. It was melted down and then fashioned into a golden calf. The calf – 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 Lord’s 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.’ Not only did they make a golden calf but also these people, God’s 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." God’s 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. God’s 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 – the children of Adam and Eve – 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. God’s anger burns against sin. But believers were spared, Noah and his family. Sadly, nothing has changed concerning sin, sinfulness, and it’s grasp on mankind. "The LORD saw how great man’s 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.

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