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 EXODUS 32:1-8

 

ISRAEL SINNED!

AT THE VERY BASE OF MOUNT SINAI THEY FELL INTO IDOL WORSHIP!

THE FIRST EIGHT VERSES OF EXODUS CHAPTER 32 DESCRIBE THEIR SLIDE INTO DISOBEDIENCE, INTO COMPROMISE.

LET'S SEE HOW IT HAPPENED! SURELY THEREIN WE SHALL LEARN VALUABLE LESSONS IN STAYING FAITHFUL TO GOD!

 

 

"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." --- Exodus 32:1-8

 

LESSON 1:

Worship!

What a glorious theme it is!

But how does such a beautiful thing go wrong?

How can mankind so misdirect worship that it becomes ... idolatry?

The Jews of Moses' day, Israelites who at least in word adored the Lord their God, managed to pollute the Sinai experience and degrade it into common idolatry!

Let's study how that happened!

The record of Israel's shameful idolatry is carefully documented in Exodus 32:1-8. This inspired paragraph of Scripture is a virtual paradigm, a pattern, of compromise.

Read with me the first verse: "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us, for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him."

The first weak quality observed here is impatience. Moses "delayed" to come down from the Mount! The verb used here, "bush," means "to be ashamed" or "to be confounded" about 103 of the 109 times it appears in Scripture. The "root" of the verb means "to pale," hence by implication, shame or disappointment or delay has gripped a person.

These people did not trust the Man of God to go or come as led of the Lord! A low view of spiritual leadership is evident here! In this case it might have been the beginning of their downfall.

Another way of looking at the situation, they were so weak and immature they could not refrain from sinning without their leader being right by their side! Folks, the Pastor is not the restraining influence in your lives! The Holy Spirit of God is! And, even realizing that these are pre-Pentecost days, still God's Spirit was abundantly available. These Israelites are standing at the very Mount of God, at least as near as was safely possible!

Secondly, note how they settled for secondary leadership! Aaron was NOT God's first choice to guide and direct the Nation. He was appointed to help Moses, but only after Moses hesitated and balked on God! See Exodus 4:14 in its context.

When it comes to the subject of one's Pastor, the man who will be feeding you God's Word week by week, do not settle for second best!

I am not saying Aaron was an evil man. He became Israel's High Priest, the first one! But here anyway, he was weak!

As the people "gathered themselves together, "qahal" in Hebrew, they were doing so without any mandate from God! It is right to meet on the Lord's Day or to pray or study God's Word. It is not right to meet to plan the construction of an idol! Friends, be careful what kind of assemblies you attend!

Furthermore, they did not convene to hear from God's Man, even Aaron!

They came together to tell Aaron what to do!

"Up," they yelled! "Qum" means to rise, immediately! It is an imperative verb here also, a command being given! I thought the people did not lead the Preacher, but the Preacher led the congregation! That's the way it works with real shepherds and sheep anyway!

The demands continue! "Make us gods." The verb does not mean to create something out of nothing. Rather, fashioning and crafting and preparing such things are commanded. That's the meaning of "asah."

And the noun "gods," in Hebrew "elohiym," is the Same Name as God's, but used in a base sense. Literally emphasizing its plural quality, gods ... many of them are implied! False gods, idols, graven images!

These folks have gone from standing in awe of Almighty God one day ... to rebellious idolatry the next day!

Soon they ascribe to their potential though yet un-made gods great power! They undoubtedly shall "go before us." The verb "go" is "yalak" and means literally "to walk!" The action here is continuous, on-going also! "Before us" uses the noun for "face," in Hebrew, "panaiym." Before our faces! They will focus and delight in and observe their new gods, giving them the position of honor due only to the true Lord God Himself!

Then, as I try to close today, look at what they call their leader now, their real leader. "This Moses" he is contemptuously termed! No respect! No honor! He's merely a "man," using "iysh," emphasizing his frailty and mortality! Even while he is on the Mount communing with the God of all creation! The Almighty! When such an attitude develops toward the Preacher, trouble is on the way!

Also it appears they are perhaps already regretting leaving Egypt. "This man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt!" Here may be a taste for the world, a craving for the onions and leeks and garlic and cucumbers of bygone days! Did you ever notice that all those things grow either under the dirt on laying on top of it? While the grapes of Eschol grow in the air, suspended in the heavens! Leave the world, with all its dirt, behind you!

Finally, their "slide" into idolatry began partly with their own ignorance. "We wot not," they claim. "Wot," an old English verb itself, translates "yada," to know in Hebrew. It can mean anything from knowing something very slightly to being a master of the facts concerning any given subject, an expert. They did not know Moses' exact location. Hence, they made themselves the interpreters of their own situation. They refused to wait on God or His Man!

Such recklessness usually leads to further and deeper sin.

It certainly did here!

Steps to idolatry.

So far, many of these traits ... in verse one I mean ... are far too apparent in today's churches!

Maybe John's last admonition in his First Epistle is still relevant. "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." 1st John 5:21

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2:

An old Preacher used to say that everything rises or falls upon leadership.

Tell me what kind of leaders a nation has, and I will tell you what direction it's going!

That is true politically ... and spiritually!

Once in Israel's history, early in their history in fact, the Nation demanded of its leader a terrible thing!

They wanted idols to worship!

And, at one of their lowest points ever, Aaron gave them exactly what they asked!

Here's today's verse: "And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me." Exodus 32:2

Where was Moses?

On top of the Mountain receiving the Law of God!

In communion with the Almighty!

In charge was his Brother, Aaron.

That name, "aharon" in Hebrew, means "light bringer" according to a major lexicon. If that's right, we have a terrible abuse of vocabulary here! Aaron failed to live up to the meaning of his name!

Incidentally, do you know what your name means?

Are you living a life that is consistent with a Biblical view of your name?

While I do not want to disrespect the man who would be the first High Priest of Israel, I must say that Aaron here failed to stand alone! He did not enforce what he must have known was right! He yielded to the "crowds," the popular opinion of the day!

Many Preachers still do the same!

That's why Church music today has changed so drastically! And Preaching is shorter and shorter and more and more shallow! And old fashioned Bible standards of living are now "out the window!" And why we hear stupid things like this: "Doctrine doesn't matter! Only love does!"

Oh, how Israel here in Exodus 32:1-8 needed a man like Elijah, not a man like Aaron! Can you imagine what would have happened had they asked that bold and fierce Prophet for an idol to worship? Fire might have fallen!

The verb "break off" translates "paraq," meaning "to tear away" something from its base. Here also it is framed in the Piel stem, requiring us to see in it intensive dramatic action!

They are in a hurry ... to sin!

Where did they get that gold?

From Egypt!

God, back in Exodus 3:21-22, had promised Israel that He would not allow them to leave Egypt empty! Each lady was to ask her Egyptian neighbor for "jewels of silver and jewels of gold and raiment."

Rightly so, the Lord was allowing Israel to reclaim some back pay, wages which had been stolen from them for decades!  This was not in the least underhanded! They did not "take" these things! The Lord apparently touched the hearts of the Egyptians and they gave liberally! 

But no where are we told that the Lord wanted this gold and silver and clothing to be used in any idolatrous situation!

He would have detested that move!

These people have just taken God's blessings and perverted them!

Turned them into tools of iniquity!

As you know, they were severely judged for such wickedness.

But, wait a minute!

That's one of the classic Bible definitions for sin!

In Hebrew, "avon," pronounced aw-vone', is one of Scripture's main words for sin or iniquity. It is derived from a root verb, "avah," which means "to bend, to make crooked or to pervert" something! To twist it from its original shape! To warp its primary shape!

That's what Israel just did with those gold pieces of jewelry!

God meant that gold and silver to help build the Tabernacle, which plans Moses was receiving that very moment from the Lord!

But Aaron, pushed by the Jews, "twisted" God's Plan ... into an idolatrous scheme!

Is that not what America is doing today?

Divorce is not God's original plan!

Nor are homosexuality or lesbianism or prostitution or a whole list of other new "orientations."

We have violated God's standard!

That noun for "earrings" is "nexem." It means "jewels" of various kinds, but in the King James Bible is primarily translated "earrings," in 14 of its 17 appearances. The first time the word is used in Scripture God is helping Abraham's servant procure a Bride for Isaac, Genesis 24:22. Again, perversion is indicated here!

What a sad event we have discussed today.

And ... did the people do what Aaron asked?

"And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron." Exodus 32:3

For a People who were so seldom in complete harmony, Israel here set a record! One hundred percent ... "all" the people participated according to our Text! "Kol" means "the whole" of any given entity!

Folks, the majority are not always right!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

God can be hurt!

Grieved too!

Not necessarily by the Devil. Jesus defeated Him a long time ago.

Not by sin either!

God can be hurt by His Own people!

This is easy to prove if you believe that the Holy Spirit is divine, a member of the Godhead.

Paul commands us to "grieve not the Holy Spirit of God." Ephesians 4:30

That verb "grieve" is "lupeo" in Greek and means to make someone sorrowful! To cause Someone hurt or pain!

And do remember that Jesus wept while on this earth. Once specifically at the grave of His friend Lazarus. See John 11:30.

Now to today's verse, Deuteronomy 32:4.

Something there happened that undoubtedly "hurt" Almighty God!

The Jews, much too soon after leaving Egypt, fell into sin.

Demanding a visible god, Israel fell into idolatry.

And Aaron, their future High Priest, cooperated with their rebellion. The Israelites, having much gold in the form of earrings and such, gave them to Aaron. "And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Exodus 32:4

Aaron is not an innocent bystander here. The verb "received" translates "laqach" in Hebrew and often carries the idea of seizing an item! To lay hold of it!

The verb "fashioned" is "tzsur" and implies that some kind of a mold was employed in the making of this idol! To bind or besiege or cramp is the idea.

One's "graving tool" is simply a chisel or stylus used to shape and smooth the monstrosity they were making! It's "cheret" for those who want to study further.

The word "molten" is "massekah" and means something that is poured. The metals were melted and allowed to trickle into a form of some kind.

And "calf," in Hebrew "egel," means just what it says. Also it is occasionally used to depict an ox in the Old Testament.

Now, here comes the insult to the Lord!

"These be thy gods, O Israel."

The little noun "gods" is represented by "elohiym" and is one of our Righteous God's valid and beautiful Names!

And the very thought of ascribing to idols, man-shaped pieces of wood or stone, the glorious Name of God is sickening. "Israel," the Name, means "ruled by God" or "princed by God!" That does not sound like an idolater at all!

Next, to their dead powerless gods they ascribe deliverance! They "brought thee up out of the out of the land of Egypt."

The verb "to bring up" suggests power and discernment and love! Chunks of rock or wood, dead idols, just do not possess much of any of these qualities!

God Himself, not some man-made deity, delivered His people, via bloodshed!

Ascribing to the devil the works of Almighty God!

That's what Israel has just done. It cost her a generation of her wisest and best men!

And it grieved her God, Who loved her to the end! See John 13:1.

Lord, help us to worship Thee!

And to live our lives to help Thy Cause, not hurt it!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

It's called compromise.

And today's verse is a prime example!

The Israelites had lost hope in Moses their leader.

He was gone and perhaps would never return, so they thought.

They needed a god.

So a god they built, an idol!

It was fashioned as a golden calf or bull.

Now any way you interpret it, that thing was a violation of the Law of God.

But Aaron, always creative, had some ideas.

Here's what he did concerning the new god. "And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord." Exodus 32:5

True, we have a heathen idol in the Camp.

But let's spiritualize it!

Let's place some holy things around it!

The verb "raah" tells us that Aaron looked at the thing for a while! Maybe it was aesthetically appealing to him! Beautiful!

Like stained glass windows or tall steeples or robed choirs and preachers or maybe even wine in goblets.

His meditation evolved into action!

Aaron was so good at building things!

Not only idols mind you!

Altars too!

Some preachers are real builders, for sure!

The verb "built" is "banah" and also implies that quite some time was involved in the project. Probably a dirt altar would not have been sufficient. Only Jehovah would be pleased with such simplicity! See Exodus 20:24.

"Altar," in Hebrew "mizbeach," comes from the verb "zabach" which means "to slaughter" an animal, usually in sacrifice.

"Before it" translates "paniym," one's face!

Now the idol is personified!

The noun for "tomorrow," which is "machar," means "the time to come," hence ... tomorrow. Aaron planned for this golden calf thing to last a while!

A "feast" or "chag" involved festival of some kind, again usually religious. It apparently would have involved sacrifice too. This is the word that's elsewhere used for the Feast Days of God Himself.

Like Passover and Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles!

Do you see what is happening?

A completely heathen activity is being clothed with some religious garments! That makes it more acceptable to many!

Like bringing an ungodly rock music "beat" into the Church ... just adding a few "religious" words to it! Eventually more and more people will accept it, the devil reasons!

Summary ...

One heathen idol!

One religious altar!

A Holy Day, modeled like those in Leviticus 23.

Some blood sacrifice!

And ... there, you have it!

Worship!

A religious experience!

Yes, but such mockery is called "syncretism."

This is a mixing of many religious doctrines and theories and practices into a conglomeration of belief!

A little bit of this and a small serving of that ... until the monster is built!

And, Brothers and Sisters, such is happening in Churches today all across the Land!

Aaron might have been right at home yet in our time!

Steps to idolatry, that's what I am calling this series of Bible Lessons.

And Exodus 32 lists this "compromise" business as a man avenue to idolatry!

Lord, spare us!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

Inconsistency!

The mixing of the religious and the worldly!

And today's verse gives us a classic example.

Speaking of the Nation of Israel, even while Moses their leader was on the Holy Mount receiving the Law of God, Exodus 32:6 relates: "And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play." 

The Jews had just, under Aaron's watchcare, fashioned an idol!

Now they will celebrate!

Often Scripture has godly men "rise up early," in Hebrew "shakam," to pray or worship God. Abraham did so in Genesis 19:27 for example. So did Jacob and Moses and Joshua and a host of others!

"Burnt offerings" are sacrifices to God that emphasize a particular aspect of Jesus' Death. While the exact procedures of such offerings may not have been technically precise here, before the giving of the Law, still an innocent animal would have given his all in death. In the burnt offering basically every part of the creature is consumed. Jesus gave His all for us too!

The Hebrew word for "burnt offerings" is "olah," which means "going upward!" Ascending! Like a stairway or a set of steps! It likely pictures the smoke and aroma of the animal floating heavenward, toward the Lord.

This act of worship, when performed reverently and seriously, could have great spiritual significance!

Then Israel brought ("nagash" in Hebrew ... to draw near or approach) before the Lord "peace offerings." The noun "shelem," kin to "shalom" obviously, represents well-being and harmony and blessing and even victory. The peace offering is certainly one of the high points of Old Testament worship. In it an animal was slain, but the parts of his body were shared by the Lord Himself and the priest on duty and the offending Israelite as well!

Everyone had a share of meat, in fellowship with one another!

In reality we again see the Cross of Christ! At Calvary the Death of Jesus pleased the Father ... and the Great High Priest Himself ... and each of us repenting sinners! We all have benefited from the shed Blood of the Lamb of God!

What spiritual gravity we have here!

But then ...

Israel ruins it all!

She, along with her eating, also drinks. This word, "shathah," is represented in the King James Bible by the word "drunkards" once. In this context I believe we are being prepared for a "party" atmosphere.

This is not spiritual eating and drinking as one does at the Lord's Supper, at Communion.

This is something much lighter ... and carnal!

Want proof?

They next "rose up to play."

This particular verb "qum," can mean to arise in a hostile sense! To stand in defiance!

The infinitive "to play" translates "tzsachaq" and means to laugh, to mock, to make sport, or to toy with something! This verbal unit is in the Piel stem also, denoting intensive action! They played hard, vigorously!

If you want further data to support this sensual gathering, read verse 25 of our chapter, Exodus 32. There we are told that the people were "naked" when Moses came down the Mountain with the Law of God! And yes, "para" means uncovered or bare.

Terrible!

Yet these are the steps that led to idolatry and always continue freely in its presence!

I see this "spirit" in our Land today!

A strange mixture of so-called worship right beside near nakedness and bold playfulness!

Church has become for many a place of entertainment!

Some places have more parties than they do prayer meetings!

More eating and drinking than preaching!

Such worldly behavior invites God's judgment!

God's chastening Hand!

Pursue God with all your heart. Worship Him deliberately and fervently. But the partying and the drinking, "let it not once be named among you!" The quote here is from Paul in Ephesians 5:3.

Church, beware!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

Moses was not omniscient. He did not know "everything." Today's Verse proves that!

But the Lord, He is omniscient!

Like Isaiah asks, who has ever taught the Lord anything? He has no need of a counsellor! The Spirit of the Lord needs no direction! Isaiah 40:13 is my source here.

Today we are privy to a conversation between the Lord and Moses. This is just a few words of what must have been a forty day commentary by Almighty God!

Few men have ever conversed with God to that extent. Later, in Numbers 12:8, the Lord tells several people that Moses, unlike others, has spoken with God "mouth to mouth." Not in dark speeches either! The Lawgiver has indeed seen the Glory and the Goodness of Jehovah God!

Let's get more specific. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down, for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves." Exodus 32:7

Here God knew what Moses did not!

The Piel verb "said," in Hebrew "dabar," expressly placed here by the Holy Spirit, tells us that the words of the Lord, His speech, was intense!

This is Jehovah God again.

The verb "go" is an imperative, a command, and is spelled "yalak." It means to go in this sense, to walk. That was Moses' only means of transportation then!

"Get thee down" is just one Hebrew word, "yarad." It's another imperative also. It just means to descend, as in walking down the Mount.

The noun "people," in Hebrew "am," is a more intimate word than some of its synonyms. It suggests kinship, closeness. Notice here that the people belong to Moses now! God is about to disown them it appears, "thy people!"

"Broughtest" translates "alah" and means going from a lower point to a higher one, ascending. This "causative" verb pictures "point" action, "punctiliar" the teachers call it. This deed was already complete when God spoke that day. Egypt was far behind! The Lord here even has Moses doing the leading! Surely genuinely godly people would not be behaving as the Jews were then!

Thou, Moses, broughtest them up from Egypt!

"Land" is "eretzs" and means anything from "ground to earth to country to fields to nations." It is translated each of these ways in the King James Bible too.

And "Egypt," in one form or another, is found nearly 700 times in Scripture!

But now we come to a "key" word. What does it mean to "corrupt" oneself? "Shachath" means to mar or spoil or waste or batter or even destroy! Here it obviously is reflexive. The Jews have done this to themselves. God certainly did not corrupt them!

And again we have a Piel verb. Very intensive and absolutely intentional activity is being described! They really corrupted themselves, with premeditation!

In Lamentations 2:5 God acts this fervently! Due to Judah's chronic rebellion and stubbornness, God intensively ("shachath") deals with her! He "destroys" her strong holds or fortifications, again according to the King James Text.

Biblically, the first time "shachath" is used in any form is Genesis 6:11, concerning the Flood! The earth was "corrupt" before God and filled with violence.

God's people, the Israelites, have apparently reverted to the ways of the world, the antediluvian world!

This sinful condition cannot last!

Atonement must be made!

For, after all, the wages of sin is "death!"

Again today, as in hundreds of Bible Texts, we see the need for a Saviour!

And, praise the dear Lord, One has come!

Thank God for Calvary ... and the Resurrection!

The Blood of Jesus washes away sin!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 One more note ... I do not usually do this. As I was studying further into today's Verse, I noticed something graphic. I told you already that the verb for "corrupt" is "shachath" and means, among other things, "to batter," in the sense of weakening or destroying something. I specifically wanted to find that lone reference for "battering." Here it is! Second Samuel 20:15 describes a war scene, an insurrection! "And all the people that were with Joab battered the wall (of the offending city) ... to throw it down!" See! A good "word picture" for what sin does to a Believer is this. It weakens our walls of defense! It causes crumbling at first, cracking if continued and a breach if allowed to persist without opposition! Song of Solomon 8:9 does indeed compare a godly young lady to a "wall" of separation! Not to a "door" of opportunity! Too many Christians are "doors" to the world rather than "walls" restraining it!

 

 

LESSON 7:

The Bible is God's Word!

And I do not mean that as a vague generalized statement.

Precisely, specifically, the Bible is God's Word!

In fact, today's verse in its entirety quotes Almighty God.

Concerning Israel, the Lord told Moses: "They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, I Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Exodus 32:8

Actually verse eight reviews the events of verses one through seven, giving an encapsulated Divine summary.

To "turn aside" is in Hebrew "shur." It, a basic verb, means "to turn" in a number of ways. It often in Scripture describes an individual or a group turning to God in repentance! But not here. However, its most common rendering in the King James Bible, 97 times, is "to put away" or "to take away," depending on its syntax and context. For example, the first Bible instance of "shur" is Genesis 8:12 where Noah, after the Flood, "removed" the covering of the Ark.

These people have sought to remove God from their lives!

God adds an adverb to the mix here! "Already" they have forsaken the Lord! "Maher" means "quickly or speedily or even hastily." It can also on occasion mean "at once." God is amazed at the lack of faithfulness here! Later, in Mark 6:6, Jesus still "marvelled" at the unbelief He found in certain places!

The noun "way" is "derek," a road or path.

To "command" is to charge or give orders! Five times in the King James Text "tzsavah" is also rendered "to appoint." Here's a Piel perfect verb! God intensely commanded this kind of behavior!

Our God is a jealous Lord, too! Yet righteously so!

He cannot and will not compete with a bunch of idols! Hear the "hurt" in His Voice as he recounts this "molten calf" incident.

The Jews "made" their own god! "Asah" means to tool or fashion or fabricate such a thing!

Then they "worshipped" it! "Shachah" means to "bow down" before something or someone, to reverence it! Remember that Jesus once told the Devil, face to face, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him alone shalt thou serve." Matthew 4:10.

But on top of all this, the building of a god and their worshipping such a dead thing, they "sacrificed" to it as well! Blood gets God's attention! The "sacrifice" here, using the word "zabach," means to slaughter or slay or kill! It is an aggressive word! And of course, the blood of even an innocent animal, when pledged to a false god, can do absolutely nothing about one's sins! Israel has just taken that which is holy and cast it unto swine!

Yet one more astounding thing is to be seen. God remembers the very words Israel spoke in her backsliding! "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." Maybe we have just been taught that the Lord, when judging His people, might just quote their own words back to them! "By thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned," spoke Jesus in Matthew 12:37.

Look at the contradiction in their speech! They identify with idols of gold, attributing to them power and protection, while still bearing the name "Israel!" And as you know, "Israel" means "God is my Prince, my Ruler!"

Some say that all the Jews tried to do here was substitute a visible something, a chunk of wood or stone or precious metal, for the invisible God they served!

I think not, but even if so, God is greatly displeased still!

He counts their actions sinful and polluting and idolatrous!

And He is grieved!

Yes, sin hurts most of all the Lord Whom we love!

Believers are to walk in "paths of righteousness" for many reasons, but the main one is "for His Name's Sake!" So says David in Psalm 23:3.

Amen!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8:

The once unknown phrase "American Idol" has certainly become popular!

And no one seems to object!

Yet God still says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." And "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image." Exodus 20:3-4

"Worship," the verb, has been so cheapened today that it is wrongly used in secular conversation. For example, "He worships the ground on which she walks."

For several days now we have been studying the "anatomy" of idolatry. Using Exodus 32:1-8 as our Bible Text, we've analyzed the downfall of Israel ... all the way to stark idol worship!

But, Preacher Bagwell, that was Israel.

Thirty-five hundred years ago too!

Such preaching as this is not pertinent today!

Friend, you are wrong!

America, I fear, and most of the other nations of earth too, have become conclaves of idolaters!

Many today worship money! Yet God long ago warned that "The love of money is the root of all evil." 1st Timothy 6:10 says so. Also Paul posits that "covetousness is idolatry" See Colossians 3:5.

Others bow before the god of humanity. The ego, the psyche, the man and the woman! Romans 1:25 warned us that the day would come when people would serve "the creature more than the Creator!" The god of evolution has sought to displace Almighty God from the classrooms of our children.

Multitudes also, if not the majority in some places, worship and adore the sensual aspects of life! Sexual things I mean! A married man and his girlfriend! A misdirected boy and his male lover! A couple of women together! The husband with two or three wives! The woman who sells her body! Peter told us these days were coming. Days when men would have "eyes full or adultery." Eyes that "cannot cease from sinning!" Yes, 2nd Peter 2:14 is quoted in part here. "Lust hounds" the old Preachers called them many years ago!

I am even beginning to wonder if the soft effeminate lifestyle of the West has not become a god! The "ease" in which we live! Listen to the Prophet Amos: "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music." These excerpts are taken from Amos chapter 6. Laziness ... a god!

Many more could be listed.

But one, just one silly little idol, can wreck a man spiritually.

Stay away!

Our God, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, is alone to be worshipped!

The last verse in 1st John 5 says: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols."

Amen!

                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

... AND THE LORD WILLING, MANY OF US WILL GROW IN GRACE AS WE STUDY THESE VERSES CAREFULLY.

 

 

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