After all they had been through together, Moses was standing in front of an unruly hoard angry and dumbfounded at the depth of sin into which the Israelites had plunged. His brother, Aaron relinquished his control and made up a silly lie. The Levites had rebellion among their ranks, not unlike the fallen angels, and 3000 of them were killed. The people stood before God without an alibi or excuse and now faced certain judgement from God.
Moses, having broken the tablets with the law and covenants stood before God like any broken Father, He was furious with the people, but still pleading for their salvation. Moses even offered to pay the price for their sin. That had to have moved God. In fact, it was then that God relented and agreed to complete the mission. Still, God would not ignore their sin. The Lord told Moses he would punish those that rebelled. As they continued forward, God sent a plague to deal with the rebellious ones and He continued to lead Moses and the people.
God gets frustrated with us. Adonai has demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus to die and pay for our sin. We are still called, however, to trust and to follow God. While we are justified by faith, we are to be set apart and transformed into people of faith. That process is a lifelong one. Paul reminded us in Philippians 1:6, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
God does not expect instant perfection, He does however, expect for us to constantly move toward transformation. He tells us in Romans 12 to no longer ne conformed to the pattern of the world. but instead, be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Romans 12:1. We are to set our hearts and minds on the heavenly realm as that is where we are citizens. Colossians 3:1-2. Like Israel, we have been set apart. As such, God asks us not to make Him a laughingstock among our enemies. It seems like a reasonable request!
God Bless You
19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.…
25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.
27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
31 So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”
33 The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
35 And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.