Golden calf bible study
Golden calf and God visitation bible study Exodus 24, 32-34
Here is the story of the Golden calf idol as a warning to people of what to not do. After receiving the commandments Moses then was called up the mountain again by God to receive them on stone and on detailed instructions on building the Ark of the Covenant. The people below did not know what happened to Moses and even wondered if he had died so they mad Aaron build them this idol. If it would not have been for Moses’ intercession and pleas for mercy on the people God would likely have destroyed the people that he brought out of Israel, save for Moses and Aaron because of their act of making this golden calf. For more on the exodus story please go here
In chapter 24 of Exodus, after 3 chapters of rules of life and so on, Moses goes up the mountain to receive the commandments on the tablets of stone and also gets detailed instructions on the Ark of the covenant (see chapters 25 through 31 of Exodus for that).
(Exodus 24:1) Then he said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar.
(Exodus 24:2) Moses alone shall come near to the LORD, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him."
(Exodus 24:3) Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, "All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do."
(Exodus 24:4) And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
(Exodus 24:5) And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.
(Exodus 24:6) And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar.
(Exodus 24:7) Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient."
(Exodus 24:8) And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."
(Exodus 24:9) Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up,
(Exodus 24:10) and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.
(Exodus 24:11) And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.
(Exodus 24:12) The LORD said to Moses, "Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction."
(Exodus 24:13) So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God.
(Exodus 24:14) And he said to the elders, "Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them."
(Exodus 24:15) Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain.
(Exodus 24:16) The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
(Exodus 24:17) Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.
(Exodus 24:18) Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
In chapter 32 the people wondering why Moses was taking so long to come down make Aaron by giving him their gold earrings and other gold to be used build them this calf of gold for them to worship instead of God. God notices this act of idolatry and wants to consume the people because of their idolatry but Moses intercedes for the people over this and stops that from happening. Moses does go down to see the calf, and in his anger throws down and smashes the tablets, and also destroys the idol, too, and other measures are instituted
(Exodus 32:1) When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, "Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him."
(Exodus 32:2) So Aaron said to them, "Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."
(Exodus 32:3) So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.
(Exodus 32:4) And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!"
(Exodus 32:5) When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD."
(Exodus 32:6) And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
(Exodus 32:7) And the LORD said to Moses, "Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.
(Exodus 32:8) They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'"
(Exodus 32:9) And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.
(Exodus 32:10) Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you."
(Exodus 32:11) But Moses implored the LORD his God and said, "O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
(Exodus 32:12) Why should the Egyptians say, 'With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people.
(Exodus 32:13) Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.'"
(Exodus 32:14) And the LORD relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
(Exodus 32:15) Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written.
(Exodus 32:16) The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
(Exodus 32:17) When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is a noise of war in the camp."
(Exodus 32:18) But he said, "It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear."
(Exodus 32:19) And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses' anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.
(Exodus 32:20) He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it.
(Exodus 32:21) And Moses said to Aaron, "What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?"
(Exodus 32:22) And Aaron said, "Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil.
(Exodus 32:23) For they said to me, 'Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'
(Exodus 32:24) So I said to them, 'Let any who have gold take it off.' So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf."
(Exodus 32:25) And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies),
(Exodus 32:26) 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.
(Exodus 32:27) 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.'"
(Exodus 32:28) And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell.
(Exodus 32:29) And Moses said, "Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day."
(Exodus 32:30) 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."
(Exodus 32:31) So Moses returned to the LORD and said, "Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold.
(Exodus 32:32) But now, if you will forgive their sin--but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written."
(Exodus 32:33) But the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.
(Exodus 32:34) 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."
(Exodus 32:35) Then the LORD sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.
After sending a plague on the people to punish them for the calf the Lord commands the people to go on to the promised land and then Moses speaks to God asking to be shown God’s ways and to be shown His glory to which God agrees although Moses only will see God’s backside, being shielded by God’s hand because nobody could see God’s face and live
(Exodus 33:1) The LORD said to Moses, "Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, 'To your offspring I will give it.'
(Exodus 33:2) I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
(Exodus 33:3) Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people."
(Exodus 33:4) When the people heard this disastrous word, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments.
(Exodus 33:5) For the LORD had said to Moses, "Say to the people of Israel, 'You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do with you.'"
(Exodus 33:6) Therefore the people of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.
(Exodus 33:7) Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp.
(Exodus 33:8) Whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people would rise up, and each would stand at his tent door, and watch Moses until he had gone into the tent.
(Exodus 33:9) When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the LORD would speak with Moses.
(Exodus 33:10) And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door.
(Exodus 33:11) Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
(Exodus 33:12) Moses said to the LORD, "See, you say to me, 'Bring up this people,' but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.'
(Exodus 33:13) Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people."
(Exodus 33:14) And he said, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
(Exodus 33:15) And he said to him, "If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.
(Exodus 33:16) For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?"
(Exodus 33:17) And the LORD said to Moses, "This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name."
(Exodus 33:18) Moses said, "Please show me your glory."
(Exodus 33:19) And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name 'The LORD.' And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
(Exodus 33:20) But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live."
(Exodus 33:21) And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock,
(Exodus 33:22) and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
(Exodus 33:23) Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen."
In Exodus chapter 34 Moses is then instructed to make two more tablets for the commandments to be made again, then God passed before Moses, who worshipped him then. Moses was in God’s presence for a full 40 days and then had to hide his face behind a veil because of how bright his face shown.
(Exodus 34:1) The LORD said to Moses, "Cut for yourself two tablets of stone like the first, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
(Exodus 34:2) Be ready by the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to me on the top of the mountain.
(Exodus 34:3) No one shall come up with you, and let no one be seen throughout all the mountain. Let no flocks or herds graze opposite that mountain."
(Exodus 34:4) So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the first. And he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand two tablets of stone.
(Exodus 34:5) The LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
(Exodus 34:6) The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
(Exodus 34:7) keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."
(Exodus 34:8) And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped.
(Exodus 34:9) And he said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, please let the Lord go in the midst of us, for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance."
(Exodus 34:10) And he said, "Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the LORD, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.
(Exodus 34:11) "Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
(Exodus 34:12) Take care, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you go, lest it become a snare in your midst.
(Exodus 34:13) You shall tear down their altars and break their pillars and cut down their Asherim
(Exodus 34:14) (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
(Exodus 34:15) lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice,
(Exodus 34:16) and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
(Exodus 34:17) "You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.
(Exodus 34:18) "You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt.
(Exodus 34:19) All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep.
(Exodus 34:20) The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.
(Exodus 34:21) "Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.
(Exodus 34:22) You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year's end.
(Exodus 34:23) Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.
(Exodus 34:24) For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year.
(Exodus 34:25) "You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover remain until the morning.
(Exodus 34:26) The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the LORD your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother's milk."
(Exodus 34:27) And the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."
(Exodus 34:28) So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
(Exodus 34:29) When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.
(Exodus 34:30) Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
(Exodus 34:31) But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them.
(Exodus 34:32) Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai.
(Exodus 34:33) And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
(Exodus 34:34) Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded,
(Exodus 34:35) the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.
For the continuing story of Israel in the wilderness and their expedition to check out the promised land and what happens after please go to this link
These four chapters in Exodus show how merciful God can be and also how effective intercession can be when directed right, yet also how dark man’s heart to be and how easily we can be seduced to worship idols. God then would send His son to die for us to set up relationship with us too. He loves us and wants this love relationship with us no matter what so He did send His Son, Jesus to die for all of our sins. I am now including a prayer which can be used to repent and turn to Him for the first time or even to return to Him if you have slipped away. He is merciful and welcomes repentant people back. Please pray the following prayer with me to welcome Jesus in your heart:
Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness. I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin. You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess Jesus as our Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we will be saved. Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved. Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself. Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
God bless you and yours