Golden Calf Consequences and the Presence of God


If God’s consequence for your behaviour was to no longer be with you how would you feel?  What would you do?  And perhaps the more important question is…  How focused are we on living lives which please and welcome God?

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.

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ 2 I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”
Exodus 32:31-33:3

When Israel fashioned a golden calf idol to worship, the Lord was furious.  There were consequences, and Moses had to plead for God to not destroy them altogether.  The most distressing consequence, however, was God telling them that his presence would not go with them as they migrated toward the Promised Land.

As we saw yesterday, the presence of God in our lives gives meaning, purpose, and joy.  God’s presence is transformative. And the thought of not having God with them was the worst thing imaginable for Israel.  God was their saviour and protector.

I cannot imagine what would happen if God withdrew from my life.  If God removed the indwelling Spirit from me, and if I lost the transformation of God’s hand on my life, I would become someone I don’t want to be.

I would become unregenerate again.  I would lose the rebirth of my life.  The reality of being born again is that we are new creations in God.  To lose God’s work in my life would take me back to a place I never want to see again…

How about you?  If God’s consequence for your behaviour was to no longer be with you how would you feel?  What would you do?  And perhaps the more important question is…

How focused are we on living lives which please and welcome God?  After reading the story of the golden calf, I’m more motivated than ever…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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