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117 - The “Throw Down”!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
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October 29, 2022 1:03 pm

117 - The “Throw Down”!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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October 29, 2022 1:03 pm

Episode 117 - The “Throw Down”! (22 Oct 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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God Yeah Moses Lord people Aaron sin Lord God calf God heart
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You pick up your Bible and wonder. Is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there something here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Hey, when Moses came down from the mountain and he saw the golden calf and he saw the people dancing, what happened then? Well, I bet you he was pretty angry. And what happened to that idol and to those stone tablets? Yeah, so he must have followed through somehow.

What did he do with the nation of Israel? Well, let's find out today on More Than Ink. And yes, this is More Than Ink. I'm Jim and I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you're with us today for the exciting conclusion. Well, no, it's not the conclusion.

I have a bad feeling about this. We're in Exodus 32 and it's the second half of the golden calf story. Golden calf story. You would expect if you were writing the Exodus story that God gets them out of Egypt and then they all lived happily ever after. But no, not really.

It's 40 grinding years out there. Yeah. And Moses is at the top of the mountain long enough to talk to God and the people get into some pretty bad mischief. And God tells Moses before he actually comes down and gets to the bottom of the mountain, what's going on. And we covered that last week.

So go look at that. But today, today, face to face with the Israelites and Aaron and his brother. And we'll see, how do you deal with something like the golden calf or they fashioned a golden calf to replace God himself because they doubted whether or not they had a future with the God who brought them out of Egypt.

How do you deal with that? What does Moses do? Because we know that Aaron went along with the crowd. Well, yeah, we're going to get a little insight into Aaron's character. That's right.

Pretty shortly. We need to just start right into this because we're starting in verse 19 of chapter 32. Where Moses is coming down the mountain. So verse 19, and as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses's anger burned hot and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and grounded to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it.

Drink it? You know, we need to stop there. There's three distinct little vignettes in this chapter and this is the first one. Yeah.

Moses's initial response to what he finds at the bottom of the mountain there. Yeah. And we referred you last week to Deuteronomy 9, which is Moses recounting for the people at the end of their time in the wilderness his own words about this event. And so we're going to reference that in just a minute.

Yeah. If you haven't read it yet, we'll reference this a few times, but it's really worth reading in parallel with this. Well, we can actually take time to probably read it. We'll read some of it.

It's really something. It's Moses talking about this event, first hint. His anger burns hot. And that's interesting because that's had been God's condition. When God first told Moses back in the, we talked about this last week. Yeah. God says, my wrath is burning hot and Moses interceded for the people then the Lord relented from the judgment that he was going to bring, but Moses goes down and now his anger is inflamed.

Yeah. It's one of those ways I was mentioning last time that Moses' heart is actually becoming more like God's heart. His reaction is the same. And I think it's interesting he's triggered when he's just seized the calf. Because he hadn't seen it. He hadn't seen it yet. He came into the camp and he saw the calf and the dancing, the celebration, the riotous, the riotous, drunken orgy stuff.

Yeah. He saw all that stuff and he became angry. Now he breaks the two tablets.

I wouldn't do that. I mean, wouldn't you incur the wrath of God if you didn't? Well, that raises a question, doesn't it?

Does he smack those tablets on the ground because he's so angry? Right. Or does he do it representationally saying, look at this, they have already broken the covenant they haven't even received fully yet. The covenant has been violated on their side. Yeah.

So it's a very visible sign. That's the way God has already regarded it. That's right. That they've corrupted themselves.

They've turned away. They worshiped another God. So they have already broken their covenants. Yep. Yep. And God refers back to this. Well, he'll refer to it in Deuteronomy nine. Right.

You guys violated the covenant. So this isn't Moses saying that these tablets are unimportant. He's saying that they've been broken already as it comes down. And so it's a great visual. It's a great visual.

But then look what happens to him. He takes the calf and he burns it with fire and grinds it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it. Drink it.

Okay. So if you're just read this, it sounds like he mixes a potion with the dust of the calf in it and says here, drink this. Well, that might be an interesting line of thought, but we find out in Deuteronomy nine what he actually did with it. Deuteronomy nine 21 says, and I took your sinful thing, the calf, which you had made and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it very small until it was as fine as dust.

And I threw its dust into the brook that came down from the mountain. Yes. Yeah. That's a whole different picture. Yeah. That's the scattering on the water he's talking about here. Right.

But it's interesting that that brook is flowing down from the mountain where God is and he takes the filthy thing and flings it to where the cleansing water is coming down from the mountain and actually buries it in that cleansing water. It's gone. It's just gone. It's dissolved.

Gone away. Yeah. And so what do you make of the fact that he has them drink of that? Well, you know, I was thinking that was their drinking water in that place coming down from the mountain.

But, you know, back in X, this one says he made the people drink it. I was thinking earlier that that this is a way of demonstrating the internal nature of their corruption. Exactly.

They are still corrupted inside. Yeah. Yeah. And that evil thing is still in them. Yeah. That's the ancient idea of saying this is part of you. Right.

Because it went inside of you. Right. Yeah. And it's still inside of you.

You might pretend to be clean, but it's what's in you. Yeah. So the symbolism is not lost on us.

It's really pretty clear. You know, you guys made this. This is a part of you. You drink this. This is still inside of you. This is a, this is a lurking latent danger inside of you, your own sinfulness.

You know, he also, it's interesting. I never thought this before, but he also made that gold that they use unusable later on for the tabernacle because it's gone. It's out of reach. Yeah. Yeah. It's just gone, which is actually a good thing because you wouldn't want to use that calf gold and put it anywhere in the tabernacle. Well, it's gone now. It's been put in the stream. Gone.

Gone. Yeah. There's also a slight symbolism of the fact that even though their sins have been cast in that water in that sense, and then they drink it, there is that cleansing effect that water always has. So in a way it starts to hint at the fact that, that God is also interested in their cleansing, in them putting away of these things. I mean, you got to own up to it.

You drink it. Right. But God, because water is always a cleansing kind of thing, he, you know, he's in the business of getting that out of you. Cause after all, the entire calf incident was a self destructive, well-intentioned, but self destructive event that they self corrupted themselves.

And so God's saying, yeah, that's not good for you. I don't think it was even self well-intentioned. I think it was self-intentioned. Well, yeah, it was. Yeah.

I don't know. Not well-intentioned for God, but well-intentioned for themselves. They thought they were good. We're going to do what we think is right. Yeah. Right. I mean, it, it brings me back to judges in those days, there was no King in Israel and every, everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Yeah. And you know what happened in judges.

It's the whole thing is a train wreck. I'm the final arbiter of what's good for me. So God wants to cleanse us of that stuff. And so there's a little bit of hint of promise of that there. Man.

And it's interesting too, that under the pressure of the people, Aaron caved and participated in their plan. Right. Moses stands up and he clearly displays a kind of a leadership authority from God himself. Yeah. He comes in for God's righteousness.

He comes in and they don't challenge him. They say, well, you know, he just, you know, Oh, he's back. And then, and now there's more. Well, yeah. Now we're going to get the confrontation with Aaron 21 because this is, this is little brother taking big brother to task. Right.

Right. So in verse 21, Moses said to Aaron, what did these people do to you? Such a great sin upon them. And Aaron said, let not the anger of my Lord burn hot. You know, the people that they're set on evil for they said to me, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, a man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt.

We don't know what has become of him. Okay. So that's truthful. Sort of it's buck passing. It's yeah. It's not my fault.

It's their fault. So Aaron's now is now we're going to get a real twist in verse 24. Aaron says, so I said to them, let any of you who have gold take it off. So they gave it to me and I threw it into the fire and out came this calf. So we had just read last week how Aaron received the gold. He cast it.

He hand wielded it with a tool. He created the golden calf. Just run your eye up to verse four. Right. That's where it says in this chapter, verse four, he's the one that received the gold and fashioned it with its graving tools.

And by the end of this chapter where it's going to be clearly laid at the feet of Aaron, the thing that Aaron did. Yeah. So, you know, these people are evil. You know, they said, make us gods.

And so I threw the gold in the fire and poof out came a cat came a cat. I mean, this total buck passing is completely passive. Totally passive. So I get it. We do it all the time ourselves.

When someone confronts us about things we do wrong, we try and get as passive looking as possible. Right. Not my fault. It just happened. Just happened.

What can I do? These people are evil. You know how things go. So again, what a fascinating contrast to Moses who just came down off the mountain and he did not take a passive role. He stood with the great authority of God and said, will you just been in the presence of God? Yeah, exactly. So verse 25, when Moses saw that the people had broken loose for Aaron had let them break loose to the derision of their enemies. There we go. Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, who is on the Lord's side?

Come to me. And all the sons of Levi gathered around him and he said to them, thus says the Lord God of Israel, put your sword on your side, each of you and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp. And each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor. And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about 3000 men of the people fell. And Moses said, today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and his brother so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.

Wait, a blessing? We'll come back to that. So you see what happened here is, you know, the people have broken loose. They've lost all restraints. That's verse 25, totally unrestrained doing whatever's right in their own eyes. We've quoted from judges 17, or you can quote from problems 14. There's a way that seems right to a man, but it's end is the way of death. So they have no sense in this. So, so restraint is gone.

And then Moses says, who's on the Lord's side? Yeah, it's interesting. Yeah. And the Levites, the priests, the priestly clan.

Well, they know they haven't been assigned as priests yet. Right. Right. But, but that's their future.

That's their future. And here's the thing. Yeah. Moses was a Levite. Yes. Moses was from the tribe.

That's true. And so he says, who's on the Lord's side and all the sons of Levi. So these are, these are people who are his relatives for the most part, who step forward. And then he says to them, put on your sword, each one of you. Well, you know, this sent me thinking about who are, who's Levi. And so I went back to Genesis 49 when Jacob is blessing his sons.

And I just need to read this to you because, uh, Genesis 49 five to seven says, Simeon and Levi are brothers. Their swords are implements of violence. Yes.

Yes. Let my soul not enter into their counsel. Let my glory not be united with their assembly because in their anger, they slew men and in their self-will they lame oxen cursed me their anger for its fierce and their wrath for its cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel. Wow. Well, that's exactly what happened here.

That's what happened to you. Now there, there is no judgment that falls on them because they are actually executing capital punishment on idolaters here. But the, but Levi as brother of Simeon executed some tremendous violence back in the times Jacob, and you can read about that back in Genesis. And so Jacob looking forward says prophetically, you guys are going to be essentially the sword of the Lord. Yeah. And the Levites are the ones who very shortly will become those who actually do the slaughtering in the temple service.

Yes. So that's very interesting. They are men of bloodshed bloodshed. That's exactly right. And yet in this particular case, what God needs to do is, is hunt down the leaders.

Let's put it that way. So presumably, you know, we're talking millions of people. So 3000 is not a lot, but they're presumably were men who postured themselves, you know, as, as, uh, captains of this whole movement. And so this is a way that God said, we need to, we need to cut this out. It's like influencers influencers.

Yeah. That's a good way to look at influencers or proponents are definitely the guys not on the Lord side and her, who are engaged to, you know, promote this heresy. So, so God says, we need to clean them out. So that is really kind of interesting that the future of the Levites is, uh, is to serve God as priests, you know, and part of that, a large part of their job, even then is the sacrifice of animals, but even here and which is dealing with sin, that's a tone of sin. Here we're dealing with sin again.

And in both cases, we have a lot of bloodshed. That's how important, how important God sees the presence of sin as being a destructive thing to us deadly, right? The wages of sin is death. God had said to Adam and Eve, now, if you disobey me, you will die. Yeah.

Yeah. And they had not a clue what that meant until they did it. But it does explain that last phrase in 29, uh, you know, you need to slay these people so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day in the cutting out of the self-destructive cancer of sin. It yields in the end, uh, the piece of sinlessness in that sense, the, you know, the, the whole, the whole influence of sin, which is destructive is put away. And it's that serious that God says people are going to have to die, especially those who are the proponents of this very way of rebellion for me. They they've got to be taken out or else they are going to infect the rest of the camp. And that's what we see here with the Levites do.

It's a very priestly thing. And we'll see that actually again and again in the unpacking of the law. Right. So many things were capital punishment offenses. That said, this will not be tolerated.

This will not be allowed to continue. Right. And you know, people who have kind of a warped idea of God's justice, you know, God's a loving God, you know, and they, and they so overemphasize that they don't actually see the fact that from a justice perspective, the most loving thing you can do is to remove the influence of sin in the life of another person. And many times that means physically removing them. So yeah, that theme will come up so much in the old Testament and even in the new that that sins destructive and God cares what happens to us because he loves us and just does not abide the presence of sin for our good. The problem is that we're all proponents of sin.

So we're all under the thumb of that same justice. And that's a bigger question that opens the whole thought of a substitutionary sacrifice. Exactly.

Something has to die. Yeah, exactly. And that's where all those atonement sacrifices at the tabernacle and later in the temple are signifying over and over and over.

Yeah. And the right of Hebrews says, you know, if the blood of bulls and goats has got to be offered over and over again, how permanent can that be? But one was offered once for all. And that was Jesus himself.

He's that offering for us. We just touched on a thousand pieces of theology right there. But I hope you're seeing the gigantic implications that seem to be in this very simple story. Yeah.

Yeah. And this is the way the Old Testament works. It is this picture book of things that will become clearer later throughout history, redemptive history that all looks toward Christ. Looks toward Christ and has a God who's serious in his justice about preserving us from evil, which is why that's so prominent in the Lord's Prayer. The Lord deliver us from evil because this will kill us.

It will kill us. And God is on our side and wants us to be preserved from that influence. And God is a life giver. He wants us to live. So here he's he's bestowing a blessing because of this killing. It's just fascinating.

Should we move on? Oh, yeah. Verse 30. Let me read for us. So the next day, Moses said to the people, you have sinned a great sin. And now, now I will go up to the Lord and perhaps I can make atonement for your sin. So Moses returned to the Lord and said, alas, this people has sinned a great sin.

They've made for themselves gods of gold. But now, if you will forgive their sin. But if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.

Let's stop right there for a second. So so he pleads for God's forgiveness for them. Right.

When he goes back in the presence. But he says, you know, I am so much a part of this people that if you block them out, blot me away to take me to. Well, and in a sense, it is, you know, if you hold them guilty, I'm guilty.

I'm guilty to I'm not any cleaner than they are. Yeah. Which is a remarkable thing. Yeah, it really is.

It really is. Because Moses could have taken God up on his offer. Okay, God, wipe them out and let's start off with start over with me as the new progenitor of the entire nation.

Then we'll see if we can get it right this time. And now I will be Mr. New Abraham. You know, Moses says, no, if you're going to take them out, take me out too. And it sort of foreshadows an interesting personal sacrifice from Christ himself on our behalf.

You know, he exists in order to bring life to us at the cost of his own life. Now here, he's not bargaining to die on behalf of people, but he's saying, I am so identified with this people take my life to write. Yeah, it's a it's a fast don't kill them and preserve me. But yeah, that's right.

Yeah. You know, and it reminded me when Paul was writing the Romans in chapter nine, he says, you know, for I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, the Jews, my kinsmen, according to the flesh. So it's that same kind of mindset. You know, it's not about me. It's about these people.

And if there's a way in which my life can counter their benefit, that's what I want. So that that's kind of floating in this whole idea. And if you come back to remember, we've referenced Deuteronomy nine, Deuteronomy, his own words when he's describing this event, he says, after I took the two tablets and smashed them before your eyes, this is verse 18 of Deuteronomy nine, and I fell down before the Lord as at the first 40 days and nights. So this is this was a long time.

Yeah, he was up there. I neither ate bread nor drank water because of all your sin, which you'd committed in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and the hot displeasure, which with the Lord was wrathful against you in order to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me that time.

He listened. And the Lord was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him. I also prayed with Aaron. I prayed for Aaron.

I prayed for him at the same time. Yeah. So, you know, Moses took very seriously. What a great intercessor.

Oh, God, don't kill my brother. Yep. Yep. Great, great intercessory heart, which by the way, is God's heart as well. It is judgment and justice are absolute and they're necessary.

They're necessary for the definition of what is good, what is you bring for love, the good things. But you know, God's heart is also to be an intercessor to deal with the problem of our own sin. And God holds us accountable for sin. And so, you know, if you look at how the Lord responds now to Moses, because Moses said, you know, blot me out of the book that you've written. Verse 33 back in Exodus 32 says, pick up there. But the Lord said to Moses, whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.

But now go lead the people to the place about which I've spoken to you. Behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them. I will judge. I will judge.

Why? Because they had turned aside and rejected God's salvation even after they had seen it. After they'd seen it. And the offer to them when they left Egypt wasn't just to go to a land of milk and honey. It was to go into a society with God at the center. God at the center.

And they've already kicked him out of the center of society. So remember, as Moses was coming down from the mountain, God had given him all these instructions and says, now I'm the Lord who sanctifies you. I make you holy by my very presence among you. Even while they're at the point of the mountain making themselves unholy.

By his presence. So the whole point of the land of promise isn't to be in a nice cushy place. It's to be in a place where God lives.

That's the whole point. And that idea is not just Old Testament. That's New Testament too. Cause remember when Jesus announced the apostles, I'm going away.

You can't come right now. And he says, but you know, I'm making a place for you so you can go and you can be where I am. It's being with me. So that's always, that's always the word in the Old and New Testament. God's intention for us. Our problem is we are a stiff necked people and we sin, but he solved that problem through Christ. And God has said that from the very beginning, the stiff neck, this tendency to sin in Deuteronomy 2029.

Again, this is Moses talking and he's looking back and looking forward. And he's talking about one whose heart turns away from the Lord. Yeah. And who in a stubborn stiff necked way says, I, you know, I've seen what God can do, but I'm so strong.

It doesn't affect me. Right. Right. Yeah. God will not forgive that. Right. So he, justice has just been sidestepped here.

And we know as we look forward in the story, none of these people make it into the promise. That's right. This whole generation dies in the wilderness.

Yeah. 40 years in the wilderness, like 40 days on Mount Sinai. So the connection is really clear. I will visit through sin upon them.

Well, let's read the last verse and we'll wrap up verse 35. Then the Lord sent a plague on the people because they made the calf, the one Aaron had made squarely on the shoulders. It didn't just pop out of the fire. Whoop.

This calf came out. Yeah. So that, you know, there's a lot of speculation about this play because we don't know anything after this. Right.

You know, we don't know what that particular play was. Some people say it was actually the killing of the 3000. That's the plague that could be, or it could be something else. That word means a fatal blow. Exactly. Right. So God allowed the death that that sin brought on to play out. Right. To be very visible in their minds.

Yeah. And so as you, as you depart from the law of God, you're playing with the death is what you're doing. And it reminded me of a proverb in Proverbs 29, 18, where there is no prophetic vision. The people cast off restraint. Oh, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

And so this is exactly what we're seeing that's going on here. You cast off restraint itself. Destructive evil does that to us and God doesn't want us to fall victim to our own sinfulness.

So he redeems us through Christ. Wow. Oh my goodness. Does the news get better when we go into chapter 33? It does. It does. And if you want to know how it does, uh, we want you to come back because I mean, this is the ups and downs of following God into a nation where God is at the center by design of the society.

What happens when a populace rejects that God? Well, there's good news and there's bad news, but if you want to find out what that is, come back and join us next time on more than ink. More than ink is a production of main street church of Brigham city and is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments, just go to our website, more than ink.org.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-08 18:37:19 / 2022-11-08 18:43:43 / 6

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