"Unholy Cow" by Bob Donohue
Text: Exodus 32
What happened to the Israelites, who had seen God act so powerfully? Time. Forty days had passed.
What are you tired of waiting for? That is the area where you’re going to be tempted.
In idolatry, we tend to revert to what is familiar. For the Israelites, that would be Egypt. They may have been tempted to think of the Egyptians, “They must have been doing something right, given their prosperity.”
Notice that Aaron described the idol as a means to serve Yahweh. The idol promise that, if we bow to them, we can serve God better. But our golden calves are really about serving our own appetites.
2. The Imploring of the Intercessor
God called the Israelites “your people” when speaking to Moses, rather than “My people”, as He had formerly.
“Stiff-necked” refers to a beast of burden, e.g., a cow that would not wear a yoke.
The flood was a “hard reset”, which is like what God proposes here when He suggests that He will wipe out everyone, and begin again with him.
Although God is angry, He nevertheless leaves the door open for Moses to appeal to Him, to intercede for Him to be merciful.
Moses’ appeal is not only out of compassion for his people, but even more so for God’s glory and reputation.
The consequences for sin were part of God’s mercy, to teach them that sin is to be avoided.
3. The Incurring of Iniquity
The consequences were not enough to atone for their sin.
Moses requested that their guilt be transferred to him, foreshadowing another who would one day bear not only their sin, but also his.