Summary: Ten ways to keep from losing God's presence

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1. People were not led by a man of God (shepherd). “Moses delayed coming down” (v. 1).

2. People looked with eyes of sight, not eyes of faith. “The people saw” (v. 1).

3. People sought comfort and guidance from other sources not from God. “The people gathered together” (v. 1).

4. People relied on their current thoughts, not what they knew and pledged. “Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the LORD has spoken we will do’” (Ex. 19:8).

5. People relied on logic, not obedience. “We do not know what has become of him (Moses)” (v. 1).

6. People listened to bad advice. “Break off your earrings . . . and bring them to me” (v. 2).

a. Not because earrings were sinful, or else Aaron would have said to destroy them.

b. Not to be holy or nearer to God.

c. Not as an attitude of seeking heart.

Why People Lose God’s Presence

 Unanswered prayer.

 Disastrous turn of events.

 A Christian disappoints them.

 Past sin returns/besetting sin.

 Lazy or no discipline.

 Corrupt influence of a friend/others.

 Availability and/or ease of sin/temptation

 Not growing in Christ.

7. People contributed to direct disobedience. “Aaron fashioned it . . . a molded calf” (v. 4). “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image” (Ex. 20:4, NLT).

8. People were quick to pursue the sin of idolatry. They got Ten Commandments about 40 days ago (24:18). This is called backsliding.

9. People looked for something to substitute for the place God had in their life. “This is your God, oh Israel” (Ex. 32:4).

10. People gave their heart to their substitute god. “So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it” (v. 5).

11. People thought their substitute could do what God had done for them. “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” (v. 4).

12. People tied their salvation to their substitute. “They offered burnt offerings . . . peace offering” (v. 6).

13. People got “religious,” happiness out of their substitute. “The people sat down to eat . . . rose up to play” (v. 6).

14. People lost their guilt and shame. “Naked to their shame” (v. 25).


1. God saw their hearts. “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people” (v. 9).

2. God brushed aside their excuses. “Corrupted themselves” (v. 7).

3. God was concerned with His broken law. “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them” (v. 8).

4. They made God jealous. “And worshiped it” (v. 8).

5. God’s first thought is to judge sin. “That My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them” (v. 10).



a. “Moses saw the calf and the dancing” (v. 19), i.e., seeing the object of sin and the sinner in sin.

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