Exodus 32:1-35

Today we see the famous story of how the Israelites rebelled against God while Moses was on the mountain meeting with God. In the beginning of the chapter we see that Moses has been on the mountain for some time. We know Moses went out to the mountain to meet with God quite often but this time instead out because Moses took longer than usual. So, what did the people do? They went up to Aaron to ask him to build an idol for them to worship (v. 1). Notice here it might seem like Aaron was just having a very casual conversation, but the original language used here could be translated to “going up against Aaron” (v. 1). In other words, not only were the Israelites petitioning with him but was going aggressively against Aaron, leaving him no choice but to follow the people’s will. And why did the Israelites fall into such rebellion?  Notice they just came from Egypt, a place they lived their whole life, in a nation where Idol worshiping was a norm. We clearly see the Israelites know of their God, but they are still influenced by the culture that is surrounding them. The Egyptians are closely tied to their idols in the society and would almost worship anything that helped the Egyptians. This behavior is now reflected on the Israelites in our passage today: the Israelites craved to worship God in a fashion they are comfortable with, instead of worshipping in the way God desires. Notice the Israelites did not see the golden calf as a different God, they still worshipped the Lord as they performed their rituals with the golden calf. In the end, many of those who performed these rituals were punished by death. And who survived? At least the sons of Levi, they are the people of Israel who are chosen to lead the whole Israelites to worship God.

Critical Thinking Questions

The Israelites who rebelled against God did what they did because they lost their faith in following God’s way, resulting in a punishment. The Levites were saved because they continued to trust God’s way. Were there times when you distrusted God and went on your way? Were there times when you take on your own method to go before Him to worship Him?

The Israelites rebelled partially due to their cultural influences from the Egyptians. Were there times during your walk of Faith that you fell into the trap of cultural influences or even traditions?        —- Isaac Chang

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