God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

February 9 - Exodus 30-32: Aaron Leads the People to Sin and Gives the Lamest Excuse

Today’s Reading: Exodus 30-32

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God gives Moses the opportunity to be the father of a great nation. He turns God down.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God gave instructions for an incense altar inside the tabernacle. Each family gave a shekel to prevent punishment during a census—no matter whether rich or poor. God had them make "holy oil" for the priests. He wanted Bezalel and Oholiab to create the tabernacle, altar, and ark. God repeated the Sabbath command.
Fearing Moses was deceased, the people begged Aaron for a god. Aaron made a calf from their gifts of gold. The people bowed down.
God offered Moses Abraham's blessing. Moses refused. Instead, he destroyed the calf and purified the camp. God also punished Israel.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Everyone paid the exact same amount in the Atonement Tax.

This is a strange tax. God required it because he would otherwise punish the people for taking a census. That is odd. What is not odd or strange is that God required each person to pay the exact amount. He is explicit that no person is to pay more than half a shekel and no person is to pay less than half a shekel. Although part of me wants to bring out a political lesson from this, I have to remind myself that the Old Testament is not a grouping of parables. I cannot make any lesson I want out of the text. So I won't.

Designers can have God-given talent.

God personally chose Bezalel and Oholiab. He gave them His spirit so they could do what he had chosen them for. God-given ability to set things right is not limited to worship or "churchy" things.

God is serious—the Sabbath is to be holy!

God is dead-set on the Israelites having a day of rest. It is in the Ten Commandments and this is the third time it is mentioned in the Law. God is adamant—everyone needs one day of rest during the week. Breaking the Sabbath is punished by exile or death. God told them to either take a day off a week or lose everything. This is a big deal. Rest one day of every week to keep things right with yourself.

The people wanted a god because they thought Moses was dead, not because they were horrible, terrible, no-good, very-bad people.

When Moses climbed the mountain, a great cloud came over and made the entire mountain look like it were on fire (chapter 24). They feared Moses had died and they were then alone. When people feel alone, they do desperate things. So they made Aaron create a god for them.

Moses turns down Abraham's promise.

God was willing to make Moses the father of a great nation. But Moses—the one all of the people grumbled against—stood up for them and begged God to spare their lives. This should show how wonderful Moses was. Moses' want to make things right ranks along with Abraham.

Aaron gives what might be the lamest excuse I have ever heard.

As noble and great Moses shows himself to be, Aaron's excuse as to why they were worshiping the calf is politician-esque.
Master, don't be angry. You know this people and how set on evil they are. They said to me, 'Make us gods who will lead us. This Moses, the man who brought us out of Egypt, we don't know what's happened to him.' … I threw [the gold] in the fire and out came this calf. (32:22-24, The Message)

God required the blood of his own people to atone for cheating on him with another god.

This is a difficult passage to digest. Moses not only killed some of the people for worshiping the calf, he had the men kill their own family, their own friends, their own neighbors. This was to show God they were more dedicated to God than anything else. Being committed to God setting all things right on this earth requires severing ties with those who do not.

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