Thursday, November 19, 2009

11/20/09- Exodus 32:1-6 The Temptation of the Golden Calf

(Adoration of the Golden Calf- N. Poussin)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

Ex. 32:1-6

1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him." 2 Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, "These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, "Tomorrow there will be a festival to the LORD." 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
Calvin Abridged: We see, here, the detestable impiety of the people. We see their crass ingratitude, and their monstrous madness and stupidity. For their sakes Moses was carried above to receive his mission, and so his authority would not be questioned. They perversely say that they do not know what happened to him. Stephen rebukes the people for this (Acts 7:35). They acknowledged he had been their deliverer, but since he wasn’t before them they forgot him. God had offered Himself present in the pillar of fire and cloud-as well as daily manna, but they still despised his glory by making an image of his glory in the shape of a dead idol. They thought they could only possess God unless they made and image of Him. It is probable that Aaron devised the calf in accordance with Egyptian superstition. It is well known the Egyptians honored the senseless god Anubis who was in the form of a bull. Aaron, when he sees he cannot control the rage of the people, in cowardice gives way to compliance So it is with all those who do not seek to be strong, and give way to bargain and compromise.
Thought: How are we tempted? One way we are tempted is when godly leaders disappear, and the leaders left care more about the people than about God. I have often thought that the Christian church in America is missing a strong leader. There is no Billy Graham, or Dwight L. Moody of the current generation. We have too often rewarded Christian scholars to criticize the faith- with publishing and financial incentives. We are skeptical of our own faith in academic circles that we are hesitant or paralyzed to make bold faith statements. We have become no different from the world in our morality, and then wonder why the Holy Spirit has left us. We have been tempted to be like everyone else, and make our God as weak and powerless as theirs. The Israelites made their golden calf like the worshipping calves of Canaan and Egypt (later done again in Dan and Beersheba)- but with no god-rider on the back. Yet this compromise with idolatry was anathema to God. So when we compromise with the world to make our faith more palatable to them, we lose the purity of faith.
Prayer: Lord, you alone are holy. Keep us from temptation and evil.

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