Day 167 – June 16
Exodus 32:1-14 – Moses intercedes
The people saw that Moses was taking a long time to come down from the mountain. They gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come on! Make us gods[a] who can lead us. As for this man Moses who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don’t have a clue what has happened to him.”
2 Aaron said to them, “All right, take out the gold rings from the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took out the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 He collected them and tied them up in a cloth.[b] Then he made a metal image of a bull calf, and the people declared, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf. Then Aaron announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the LORD!” 6 They got up early the next day and offered up entirely burned offerings and brought well-being sacrifices. The people sat down to eat and drink and then got up to celebrate.
7 The LORD spoke to Moses: “Hurry up and go down! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, are ruining everything! 8 They’ve already abandoned the path that I commanded. They have made a metal bull calf for themselves. They’ve bowed down to it and offered sacrifices to it and declared, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” 9 The LORD said to Moses, “I’ve been watching these people, and I’ve seen how stubborn they are. 10 Now leave me alone! Let my fury burn and devour them. Then I’ll make a great nation out of you.”
11 But Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, “LORD, why does your fury burn against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and amazing force? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He had an evil plan to take the people out and kill them in the mountains and so wipe them off the earth’? Calm down your fierce anger. Change your mind about doing terrible things to your own people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, whom you yourself promised, ‘I’ll make your descendants as many as the stars in the sky. And I’ve promised to give your descendants this whole land to possess for all time.’” 14 Then the LORD changed his mind about the terrible things he said he would do to his people.
Comment: notice the irony, first God tells Moses “your” people are acting out, then Moses tells God “your” people, whom you led out of Egypt, are acting out. Moses is standing toe to toe with God just as his father Abraham had done with God. Alas, sometimes we must do the same.
He also had an encounter with some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers. Their reaction, when he told them about Jesus and his resurrection, was, “He’s a dreamer,” or, “He’s pushing some foreign religion.”
19 But they invited him to the forum at Mars Hill. “Come and tell us more about this new religion,” they said, 20 “for you are saying some rather startling things and we want to hear more.” 21 (I should explain that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest new ideas!)
22 So Paul, standing before them at the Mars Hill forum, addressed them as follows:
“Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious, 23 for as I was out walking I saw your many altars, and one of them had this inscription on it—‘To the Unknown God.’ You have been worshiping him without knowing who he is, and now I wish to tell you about him.
24 “He made the world and everything in it, and since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples; 25 and human hands can’t minister to his needs—for he has no needs! He himself gives life and breath to everything, and satisfies every need there is. 26 He created all the people of the world from one man, Adam, and scattered the nations across the face of the earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and when. He determined their boundaries.
27 “His purpose in all of this is that they should seek after God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and are! As one of your own poets says it, ‘We are the sons of God.’ 29 If this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol made by men from gold or silver or chipped from stone. 30 God tolerated man’s past ignorance about these things, but now he commands everyone to put away idols and worship only him. 31 For he has set a day for justly judging the world by the man he has appointed, and has pointed him out by bringing him back to life again.”
32 When they heard Paul speak of the resurrection of a person who had been dead, some laughed, but others said, “We want to hear more about this later.” 33 That ended Paul’s discussion with them, 34 but a few joined him and became believers. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the City Council, and a woman named Damaris, and others.
Comment: God’s purpose is that we should seek after God, feeling our way toward Him and find Him! That means God is very knowable, what good news.
1-3 The word of GOD to my Lord:
“Sit alongside me here on my throne
until I make your enemies a stool for your feet.”
You were forged a strong scepter by GOD of Zion;
now rule, though surrounded by enemies!
Your people will freely join you, resplendent in holy armor
on the great day of your conquest,
Join you at the fresh break of day,
join you with all the vigor of youth.
4-7 GOD gave his word and he won’t take it back:
you’re the permanent priest, the Melchizedek priest.
The Lord stands true at your side,
crushing kings in his terrible wrath,
Bringing judgment on the nations,
handing out convictions wholesale,
crushing opposition across the wide earth.
The King-Maker put his King on the throne;
the True King rules with head held high!
Prayer: help us to cherish the gifts you have given us, dear Lord: your presence, your word, your ways, and your shalom. Amen.