In Exodus 32, Moses recorded a horrible day in the history of Israel. While he was meeting with Yahweh on the sacred mountain, the children of Israel proved their idolatrous hearts. They turned from the way of the Lord and constructed a golden calf. About it they engaged in feverish singing, dancing, eating, and drinking. In pagan style, they let loose in false worship in the face of Yahweh.
God saw their sin and proclaimed his anger. He declared the children of Israel deserved nothing but his just wrath and retribution.
It was then that God’s mediator went to work. His name was Moses, and he was charged with rescuing Israel from the evil empire, leading them in the way they should go, and pleading for them before the Holy Judge. Therefore, on that particular day, Moses played his role. He went to work:
- Sharing God’s heart towards righteousness — the Law.
- Sharing God’s heart towards sin.
- Sharing God’s heart towards sinners.
- Confronting the people with their sin.
- Calling the people to choose God and repent.
- Identifying himself with those who repented.
- Executing God’s justice on those failing to repent.
- Seeking to offer atonement for the sins of the repentant.
However, in this last regard, Moses failed. He could not procure atonement for Israel’s sins. This he recorded this in Exodus 32:30-35:
The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Alas, this people have sinned a great sin. They have 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.” 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 have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.” Then the LORD sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.
Moses climbed the holy mountain and sought God’s forgiveness, but he could not stay God’s hand. God decided not to heed Moses’ plea. Instead of mercy and grace, justice would be executed:
- They would be blotted out of his book.
- God would visit their sin upon them.
- God would plague this people.
Ouch! First they were ministered to by Aaron — a dysfunctional worship leader and priest. Then they were ministered to by Moses — an unsuccessful mediator and savior.
Friends, who is your mediator?
I hope it is not you. You have not what it takes to stay God’s hand.
I hope it is not your counselor or therapist. They can aid you on earth, but they have no sway with God.
I hope it is not your pastor or priest. He may know the way. He may preach the way. But he is not the way.
I hope it is not Moses. Moses and his Law are grand. They can condemn, buy they have not the power to atone or save.
Yes my friend, you need a better Worship Leader, Priest, Mediator, and Savior. You need the One who has the mind of God, the heart of God, and the ear of God. You need the One who can supply your needed righteousness and then take the Father’s plague on your behalf. You need Jesus Christ — the one who was blotted out in order that you might be penned in.
And there is good news! He is available right now. He is standing in the camp, and he is calling you to repent. You can be saved from your sin, God’s wrath, and his wrath, if you side with him today. Why be killed? Why be plagued? Why be blotted out? Trust in his perfect life and sacrificial death. Call upon Jesus and be saved, and then send me a note and let me know of your new relationship with the Successful Mediator — Jesus Christ. It would be my joy to help you grow in your new relationship.
And you, believer in Jesus Christ with an ongoing proclivity towards idolatry, can you hear him? Today, Jesus is calling you (and me) to pulverize your idols and worship him well. Why trust in gold calves, rings, medals, crowns, or clubs? In time, all your false gods will fail. And today, he who has already taken your sin and punishment, he has plans to take down your false gods as well. Therefore, repent well again. Enjoy the process of turning from folly and running back to Christ! Look at his love for you. He has already atoned for your sins. Watch him now annihilate your idols.