Rev. Joel Haak, pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Rochester, MN joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Exodus 32:15-35.
When he came down Mt. Sinai, Moses carried with him two tablets made by the LORD Himself, upon which the LORD Himself had written His very Word. In the same way that the Holy Scriptures breathed out by God Himself inspire awe in Christians, so Moses carried these precious tablets. When he saw for himself the idolatrous revelry at the foot of the mountain, he cast those tablets from his hands, physically acting out what Israel was doing by worshiping the golden calf. By burning it, grinding it, and putting the powder in the water for Israel to drink, he taught them the foolishness, worthlessness, and powerlessness of all idols. Having repented, the Levites gathered to Moses in allegiance to the LORD above even their own kinsmen. The capital punishment they enacted to restore civil order points to the greater eternal punishment that all idolaters deserve. Moses’ attempt to make atonement for the great sin of the people points us forward to Christ as the full and final atonement for the idolatry that still subtly lies in wait and tempts us to forsake the one true God, even apart from golden statues. Only Christ can give His life in place of ours. Only Christ can write our names in His book of life forever. Only Christ has won our full and total allegiance.
“The Saga of Salvation” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that takes a step-by-step walk through the book of Exodus. This premier account of salvation in the Old Testament proclaims that the LORD is the one true God, the Creator and Redeemer, who alone is worthy of our worship and faith, all the while pointing us forward to the ultimate deliverance He gives through the exodus accomplished by Christ.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” 18 But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” 19 And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20 He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it.
21 And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” 22 And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. 23 For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24 So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”
25 And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord‘s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. 27 And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’” 28 And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. 29 And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.”
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.” 33 But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. 34 But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
35 Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.