Angelic Conflict part 176: Human history – Deu 5:28-29; Exo 32:1-33:11; 24:12-18.

Class Outline:

Title: Angelic Conflict part 176: Human history - DEU 5:28-29; EXO 32:1-33:11; 24:12-18.



Back to the Exodus:


We left them on their way to Mt. Sinai in the wilderness of Sin, where again they had no water, and despite their unbelief God brought water from a rock. Even after this they did not trust in Him. Soon after Israel was attacked by the Amalakites who were a tribe from the grandson of Esau. Because Moses was able to hold his hands up with the help of Aaron and Hur the Jews prevailed under general Joshua and defeated them. And so we find them now at Mt. Sinai, 3 months after leaving Egypt, where they will spend about a year.


Next we have the months at Sinai. God will communicate the Law to Moses. He will not communicate it all at once. In the beginning Moses went up the mountain and came back shortly thereafter. During this we have at least three occurrences where the people pledged to obey whatever God told them to do.


Moses gives a recap of this time 40 years later on the east side of the Jordan as the children of the people were about to enter the land.


DEU 5:28 "And the Lord heard the voice of your words when you spoke to me, and the Lord said to me, 'I have heard the voice of the words of this people which they have spoken to you. They have done well in all that they have spoken.


DEU 5:29 'Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!


It would seem from the Exodus account that Moses went up into the mountain six times. Turn to Exo 19 and you can follow along.


1.    EXO 19:3: God tells Moses to instruct Israel to obey Him and to keep the covenant. He says He will descend in 3 days upon the mountain. He does so in the cloud with flashes of lightning. This is Christ’s mobile throne that we have studied.


The people meet God from the foot of the mountain three days later.


2.    Moses is called up in EXO 19:20 and is told to warn the people to keep their distance from the mountain.


In Exo 20 God speaks the ten commandments to the people from the mountain and it scares them.


3.    Moses approaches God again in EXO 20:21 and he is told to warn the people that they are to have no idols and that they are to make a stone altar and offer sacrifices on it to God.


In Exo 21 codex three of the Law is given to Moses. This is the code of justice in dealing with slaves, crime, the Sabbath day, sabbatical year, sacrifices and God finishes with His promise to give them the land and to drive out those who dwell there presently.


4.    EXO 24:1, God invites Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and 70 elders of Israel up to the mountain. Moses alone is allowed to come near to God. Moses communicates to the people who promise to do God’s will. Moses writes it down.


5.    EXO 24:9 the same group go up and see the Lord on His throne (mobile throne). This no doubt is done so that the elders will report back to the people what they saw, the Lord in His glory.


6.    EXO 24:12 Moses ascends the mountain with Joshua and remains for 40 days. God gives him the stone tablets and codex 2, which is the theological code, recorded all the way through Exo 31. Moses leaves Aaron and Hur in charge.


EXO 24:18 And Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.


During this time all the Law was received and recorded.


EXO 32:1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."


EXO 32:2 And Aaron said to them, "Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."


EXO 32:3 Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.


EXO 32:4 And he took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, and made it into a molten calf; and they said, "This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt."


EXO 32:5 Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord."


EXO 32:6 So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.


Moses called what they did "a great sin" (vv. 21, 30-31), and his assessment was accurate.


It was “a great sin” because of who committed it: the nation of Israel, the chosen people of God, His special treasure, who heard God’s Law and saw God’s glory.


It was great because of when and where they committed it: at Mount Sinai after they had heard God's law declared and seen God's glory revealed. They had promised to obey God's law, but in making a golden calf and indulging in a sensual celebration, the nation broke the first, second, and seventh commandments. It was a great sin because of what they had already experienced of the power and mercy of God: the judgments against Egypt, the deliverance at the Red Sea, the provision of food and water, and the gracious leading of God by the pillar of cloud and fire. What they did was rebel against the goodness of the Lord, it's no wonder their sin provoked God to anger (Deut 9:7).


Why did Israel commit such an evil act at such a glorious time in their history? To begin with, they were impatient with Moses who had been on the mount with God for forty days and nights (vv. 11-12), and impatience is often the cause of impulsive actions that are sinful.


Impatience is often the cause of impulsive actions that are sinful and reveals a lack of trust in God’s deliverance.


Israel didn't know how to live by faith and trust God regardless of where their leader was. Whether Moses was with them or away from them, they criticized him and ignored what he had taught them.


But Aaron and the tribal leaders were to blame because they didn't immediately turn to God for help and warn the people what would happen. Aaron and Hur had authority from Moses to lead in his absence (Ex 24:14), and though they were men who had seen God's mighty acts, they failed God and Moses.


EXO 24:12 Now the Lord said to Moses, "Come up to Me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandment which I have written for their instruction."


EXO 24:13 So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.


EXO 24:14 But to the elders he said, "Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you; whoever has a legal matter, let him approach them."


EXO 24:15 Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.


EXO 24:16 And the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud.


EXO 24:17 And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the mountain top.


EXO 24:18 And Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.


Instead of restraining the people, Aaron went along with them and gratified the desires of their sinful hearts and so failed as a leader.


God provides authority and leadership and He often gives leaders according to the will of the people. Israel wanted a king “like other nations” and God gave them Saul. God’s will for a king was David, Israel’s greatest king outside of Jesus Christ. In any desire there is the thing itself that is desired and the desire that one hopes it will fulfill. God is faithful to give man the intentions of his heart, good or bad. If bad He will warn us repeatedly, and if we still don’t heed, and change bad intentions, then He will give us our bad desires so that we may learn the hard way.


Aaron chose popularity and acceptance above good and proper leadership of God’s people and he received his popularity along with discipline.


Aaron would repent, but Aaron would not enter the PL.


Moses' great test:


EXO 32:7 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, "Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.


In leadership, the difficult experiences with our people either make us or break us, and Moses was about to be tested.


God called Israel "your people whom you brought out of Egypt," as though the Lord were abandoning the nation to Moses, but Moses soon reminded Him that they were His people and that He had delivered them. Furthermore, God had made a covenant with their forefathers to bless them, multiply them, and give them their land (GEN 12:1-3). Moses intended to hold God to His word, and that's what God wanted him to do. Moses chose the way of grace and mercy.


EXO 32:8 They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it, and have sacrificed to it, and said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'"


EXO 32:9 And the Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people.


The second part of the test is God’s offer to wipe Israel out and start over from Moses’ descendants.


The Lord then took a different approach: He offered to wipe out Israel and make a new nation out of Moses' descendants. A lesser man might have accepted this invitation, but not Moses.


Moses loved his people, sinful as they were, and he wanted more than anything else to glorify the God of Israel and see Him fulfill His promises.


Moses wasn't worried about his own future; he was concerned about God's reputation. What would the Egyptians say about God if they heard that the whole nation of Israel had been destroyed at Sinai?


God has perfect self-esteem. He is unconcerned about what people think of Him, but He is also perfect integrity and full of grace and mercy, and He knows exactly what He is going to do, so this is nothing more than a test for Moses who passes it magnificently.


EXO 32:10 "Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them, and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation."


EXO 32:11 Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, "O Lord, why doth Thine anger burn against Thy people whom Thou hast brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?


EXO 32:12 "Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, 'With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth'? Turn from Thy burning anger and change Thy mind about doing harm to Thy people.


EXO 32:13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants to whom Thou didst swear by Thyself, and didst say to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.'"


EXO 32:14 So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.


Later, Aaron offered a feeble excuse and tried to blame the people (EXO 32:22-24), but God knew better.


EXO 32:15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides; they were written on one side and the other.


EXO 32:16 And the tablets were God's work, and the writing was God's writing engraved on the tablets.


EXO 32:17 Now when Joshua heard the sound of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is a sound of war in the camp."


EXO 32:18 But he said, "It is not the sound of the cry of triumph, Nor is it the sound of the cry of defeat; But the sound of singing I hear."


EXO 32:19 And it came about, as soon as Moses came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing; and Moses' anger burned, and he threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.


EXO 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made and burned it with fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it over the surface of the water, and made the sons of Israel drink it.


EXO 32:21 Then Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people do to you, that you have brought such great sin upon them?"


EXO 32:22 And Aaron said, "Do not let the anger of my lord burn; you know the people yourself, that they are prone to evil.


EXO 32:23 For they said to me, 'Make a god for us who will go before us; for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'


EXO 32:24 "And I said to them, 'Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.' So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."


What would be the point of lying if he knew the omniscience of God?


God would have killed Aaron had Moses not interceded for him (Deut 9:20).


Weak leadership enables weak people to continue unhindered in rebellion.


Yet Moses is no weak leader. Though many of Israel perish in the wilderness and Moses' prayers for them seem to only give them more time for their negative volition, their failure does not take anything away from his displayed virtue, which glorifies God forever.


Virtue comes from receiving all that God has done for you and trusting in Him for deliverance in all situations.