Summary: This message looks at how Moses reacted to the people sinning around the golden calf and how we, the church, should react to sin today.
Our Reaction to Sin
The way we react to certain situations tell a lot about us. There are some things that we are able to control, but the one area we normally let our guard down is in our reactions.
Tonight I want to look at how Moses reacted to seeing the people worshiping a golden calf , and compare that to how we should react to sin in our life and sin in our society. We are living in a world that for the most part has grown numb to sin. There is very little anymore that even shocks us let alone outrage us. We are bombarded daily with sin on television and the Internet.
-Remember last week we looked at how God had already informed Moses on what the people were up to at the base of the mountain and Moses reacted at that moment by interceding to God on their behalf. Moses had asked God to show mercy to his people because of the promise that he had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
-In this passage today Moses has started the journey down off the mountain and he is holding in his hands the two tablets of stone that God has written in the ten commandments on. I have verse 16 highlighted in my Bible because it is very important it says, “The tablets were the work of God.” During the 40 days that Moses has been up on the mountain God engraved this stone with the commandments and made it so that it could be folded and put into the ark of the covenant. A very special work of God. The handwriting of the very God who created the world was right there on these stones.
Joshua had went up as close as he could on the mountain with Moses and waited for Moses to come back down. Which is why we see in this passage that Moses and Joshua are coming down off the mountain together. Joshua being a man of war hears the people shouting in the camp and he says to Moses in verse 17, “There is a noise of war in the camp.”
Moses already knew what was going on because God had told him- For some reason Moses had not told Joshua,. Possibly he had hoped that the people had repented and gotten rid of the idol before he got to the bottom. We always hope for the best out of people.
The people were singing and dancing and worshiping around the golden calf they had made
and in verse 19 we are told that when Moses saw the calf and the dancing his anger burned hot and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the food of the mountain. He took the calf and burned it with fire and ground the remains into powder and made the people drink it.
-It was one thing to hear about what the people were doing, but when Moses saw the people worshiping this idol and having a good time his reaction was a righteous anger that the people had forgotten God and were instead bowing down at a creation of their own hands.
-some people think that Moses sinned here in throwing down the commandments and becoming angry, but the Bible does not say that. When Moses retells the account of what happened in Deuteronomy chapter 9 he does not say that he sinned in what he done, but rather the people were sinning.
Lets turn there and look at this tonight Deuteronomy 9:13-21
Some bible commentaries believe that what Moses did was an act of Justice instead of passion. The greatest sign of Gods displeasure with the people was to take the law of God away from them. To leave them as we might say today “un-churched”. Remember this was a method that Paul used in the church at Corinth to discipline a member within that church that was living in sin.
By melting the calf and grounding it into powder Moses was showing the people that their false god had no way to help himself or them, that he was nothing but a pile of dust. By putting it into the water it was a proclamation that the idol was nothing. Remember when people in the New Testament were worried about eating meat that had been offered to idols and the Apostle Paul told them.
1Cr 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one.
What I really want to focus on tonight is Moses' reaction to their sin. We are living during a day and age where tolerance is taught and preached, but how far does that tolerance go? How far should it go?