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Sunday, December 9 2018
A Bible Journey, 82: The Golden Calf Riot
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt"
A "riot" may be defined as "a wild gathering involving excessive drinking and promiscuity." Amazingly, the Israelites had such a fiasco at the foot of Mount Sinai (see A Bible Journey, 69: The Camp At Mount Sinai), not long after witnessing the LORD's wrath upon the calf idol worshippers of Egypt in the Exodus (see A Bible Journey, 59: The Plagues On Cattle And Linen and A Bible Journey, 63: The Exodus Lesson).
"32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." (Exodus 32:1 KJV)
Aaron did not have the strength of character of his brother Moses. Rather than stopping their gross foolishness, he participated in it.
"32:2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. 32:3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 32:4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
Moses was not yet able to see or hear the commotion below, but the LORD did: "I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people." Israel came very close to being obliterated that day: "Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation."
"32:7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 32:8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
"32:11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 32:12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 32:14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
Joshua had accompanied Moses part-way up the mountain. He saw and heard the chaos below before Moses. When Moses finally saw the spectacle, he became angry as the LORD had been and broke the original set of the tables of stone (see Turning The Tables and Why Were The Ten Commandments Kept In Moses' Tent?).
"32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.
Aaron's excuse was weak and absurd:
"32:21 And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
Fortunately, the wrath of Moses was not as severe as the Wrath of the LORD would have been, but Moses nevertheless restored order by force. He called for his fellow Levites to stop the riot, "And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men."
"32:25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD'S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. 32:27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. 32:28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. 32:29 For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day." (Exodus 32:25-29 KJV)
The next day, Moses returned to the LORD with the promise "I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin." The innocent and the repentant were spared, but of the others, "the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made."
"32:30 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.
Fact Finder: What was the great amount of Egyptian gold intended to be used for?
This Day In History, December 9
480: Odoacer, the first Germanic (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation) king of Italy, occupied Dalmatia and established his political power with the co-operation of the Roman Senate (see also The Roman Republic and The Roman Empire).
536: Flavius Belisarius (most-often known simply as "Belisarius"), a general of the Eastern (or "Byzantine") Roman Empire, captured Rome (see also The Founding Of Rome: The Curious Tale Of Romulus and Remus).
1625: The Treaty of the Hague was signed under which England and the Netherlands agreed to subsidize Christian IV of Denmark in his campaign in Germany.
1755: The first post office in Canada opened, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
1824: The Battle of Ayacucho, during the Latin-American war of independence; an anti-Spain republican rebel victory over royalists on the high plateau near Ayacucho, Peru.
1868: W.E. Gladstone became British Prime Minister for the first of his four terms.
1870: The Society of Biblical Archaeology was founded in London.
1905: An Act for the Separation of Church and State became law in France, repealing Napoleon's Concordat of 1801.
1917: During the First World War (1914-1918; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), British forces under the command of General Edmund Allenby captured Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire (listen to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire and The Balfour Declaration; see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Balfour Declaration). It occurred on Hanukkah, which commemorates the recovery of The Temple after the original "abomination of desolation" that was committed by the Seleucids (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids) while under the rule of the heathen Antiochus Epiphanes (see A History Of Jerusalem: Abomination Of Desolation and The Holy Place In History And Prophecy).
1931: Spain became a republic.
1940: British forces launched their first major offensive in North Africa during the Second World War (1939-1945).
1941: During the Second World War (1939-1945), China declared war on Japan, Germany and Italy - thereby making China allies with Russia, the U.S., Britain (see also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?).
1945: The flamboyant U.S. General George Patton was involved in an automobile accident at Kafertal, a suburb of Mannheim, Germany. The collision was relatively minor, however Patton, who was not wearing a seat belt, flew upward and struck his head on the roof of the vehicle; he was paralyzed from the neck down and died 12 days later.
1949: The United Nations General Assembly voted for the entire city of Jerusalem to be transformed into a corpus separtum - an "international" city.
1957: Lester Pearson (who later served as Canada's 14th Prime Minister, 1963-1968) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He received the award for his work while Canadian external affairs minister in negotiating a settlement of the 1956 Suez crisis by proposing a UN peace-keeping force as a means of easing the British and French out of Egypt. Regarded very highly by the Israelites, Pearson was presented with the Medallion of Valour of the State of Israel for his efforts on behalf of Israel at the United Nations.
1961: Captured Nazi Adolf Eichman was found guilty of war crimes by a court in Israel (see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah).
1961: Tanganyika became independent from Britain and took the new name Tanzania.
1979: The eradication of the smallpox virus was certified, thereby making smallpox the first and only human disease driven to extinction.
1990: Former "Solidarity" labor union leader Lech Walesa won Poland's presidential election.
1994: The closest (to date) recorded approach to earth by a celestial object occurred when an asteroid the size of a small house passed within 100,000 km. of the planet (about 1/4 of the distance to the moon). Known as asteroid 1994XM1, it orbits the sun in the same area as the earth and is believed that it will eventually collide with earth (see also When Space Rocks Collide With Earth).