Moses Part 16

Moses, the man of God

A study

Part 16

People’s Idolatry and Moses’ Intimacy with God

Exo.32 – 35

IDOLATRY of the People

From Exo.25 to 31 Moses was on the mount for 40 days and 40 nights receiving from God the pattern of the Tabernacle, the dwelling place to be built in the midst of His redeemed people, of the One, True and Living God. (Exo.24: 18) When Moses delayed to come down, the people said, “Up, make us gods.” (Exo.32: 1-6) What a degradation! They were forsaking the Almighty God and placing themselves under gods of man’s making. They grew weary of waiting for the absent one and of hanging on an unseen but real arm. They imagined that a god formed by an “engraving tool” was better than Jehovah – that a golden calf, which they could see, was better than the invisible, yet omnipresent and omnipotent God. They preferred a visible counterfeit to an invisible reality. Idolatry is “divine honour paid to any created object.” And our Creator God can never tolerate any Idolatry.


This is a great warning to us because all of us are very vulnerable and prone to Idolatry. We are called to live by faith; we can see nothing with the eye of sense. (2Cor.5: 7) We are to follow the example set by Moses who for the sake of the unseen future heavenly rewards forsook the visible present Possessions, Pleasures and Position on the earth. He did not fear the temporal might of the king of Egypt because he could see by faith the eternal God Almighty. (Heb.11: 24 – 27) Then we have the exemplary life of the apostle Paul, who could fight the good fight of faith and finish his course, because he looked only at the eternal things, which are unseen. (2Cor.4: 17,18, 2Tim.4: 7) On the contrary, we also have the miserable and tragic example of Esau, who lost his unseen eternal inheritance and future rights because he could see and appreciate the values of only his present and immediate needs. (Gen.25: 29 – 34, Heb.12: 16, 17) Which of these examples are we following today? Many have turned towards earthly gains, having become weary of waiting for the return of our Lord. (2Pet.2: 20) If we pursue only after the immediate and visible blessings and pleasures of the earth, we are far worse idolaters than those people of Israel were who forgot their Redeemer and worshiped the golden calf. Beware! God calls COVETOUSNESS as Idolatry (Eph.5: 5, Col.3: 5) and Idolatry is abominable in His sight. (1Pet.4: 3, 1Cor.10: 14)


When God saw the Idolatry of His redeemed people, His wrath burned against them. And God told Moses, “let me consume them and make of you a great nation.” Here we find that Moses didn’t have even a trace of pride or greed. The blessed servant Moses loses sight of himself entirely. His whole soul is engrossed with thoughts of the Lord’s glory and the Lord’s people. How few are like him! Moses pleaded with God to turn away from His fierce wrath. He argued with God, that the Egyptians will ridicule the great name of God and mock that God was incapable of taking care of His people and fulfilling His plans for them. Moses also reminded God about the promises He had given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would give to their seed the Promised Land. We too must be like Moses, interceding before God, on behalf of His people. (Eze.22: 30, Isa.62: 6, 7)


But when Moses personally saw the Idolatry and abominable behaviour of the people, he was filled with holy indignation, and he cast the Tables of Law out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mount. He took the golden calf and burned it and ground it to powder and made the people drink of it. Moses also gathered the children of Levi on the Lord’s side and killed about 3000 people who indulged in idolatry. But again Moses was very quick to plead with God to forgive the people. He went to the extent of asking Him to either forgive the children of Israel – if not, blot out his own name. Thus Moses continued his intimate conversation with God and spoke to Him face to face as a man speaks to his friend. (Exo.33: 11) Moses took this opportunity to beseech God to reveal His glory to him. In reply to this, God did not show His physical features, but revealed His awe-inspiring and glorious nature. God put Moses in the cleft of a rock and covered him with His hand and passed by proclaiming, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. He keeps mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. (Exo.34: 6,7)

Now Moses was in the presence of the Lord on the mount for another 40 days and 40 nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. (Exo.34: 28) God wrote again the Tables of Law and renewed His covenant. God also gave this precious promise to Moses, “My presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.” (Exo.33: 12) And after all this, when Moses came down from the presence of God, his face was shining so bright that he had to cover his face while talking to the people. So it should be with all of us. When we take time to be in His presence, hearing Him and obeying Him, our light would shine before men that all the people with whom we converse may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus. (Acts 4: 13, Matt.5: 16)

He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. (Psa.103: 7)

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