I’m so sorry I didn’t get this out to you yesterday!!! I had it written and typed and all ready to go, it just never got sent and I thought it did! Eep!
Today’s reading contains several of my favorite stories. So it was hard for me to choose just one to talk to you about. But when I went back to re-read it the story of the Golden calf was the one that I just had to re-tell because it’s arrow pointing forward to Christ was the strongest.
The story of the Golden Calf has always been one of my favorites because of Aaron’s reaction when Moses comes down the mountain and sees what he has done.
“Moses said to Aaron, ‘What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?’ And Aaron said, ‘Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people that they are set on evil. 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.’ 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 32:21-24
Yeah Aaron, you just threw the gold in and a CALF popped out! Suuuure. It honestly just cracks me up, every time. Maybe it’s the mom in me and all the times I’ve heard my kids come up with excuses like that. My favorite was when I noticed a cut in the hem of Anna’s pants. When I asked her how that cut got there she said, “The scissors did it”. It’s so pathetic that we laugh, but it’s honestly how we think when we’re trying to back pedal our way out of trouble. We often spit out the first answer that comes to our mind and then as soon as it’s out of our mouth we think better of it. But it’s too late because it’s already out. We’ve all been there and done that, hopefully a long long long time ago.
But it’s the thing after Aaron’s lame excuse that should really get our attention. Moses stands in the gate of the camp and says,
“Who is on the LORD’S side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. 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.” And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. 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 32:26-29
It’s here I have to point out something very interesting. From the very beginning of the book of Exodus the people of Israel have been mumbling and grumbling and doing all kinds of things to make the LORD angry. Yet NONE of them died until the Law came down the mountain. And on this day when the Law came down the mountain 3,000 men lost their lives. That number is important because it’s the arrow.
There is another instance in the Bible when someone comes down from God and 3,000 men are affected. Do you know where it is?
Turn to Acts chapter 2 verses 1 through 41. Please take the time to read it here.
Coincidentally, Pentecost was the celebration of the Law being given by Moses. So here we are years and years later. Jesus has come, laid down His life on the cross, come back to life, shown Himself to His followers for 40 days, & told them to wait for the promise of the Father. So the Disciples are hanging out in Jerusalem, basically minding their own business waiting for this gift that God the Father has promised them. Pentecost comes and they’re all gathered together celebrating it as good Jews would have when this sound like a mighty rushing wind fills the room, tongues of fire come and stand on their heads and they all start speaking in different languages. The promised gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit has come! And boy did He come with a bang didn’t He!?! It’s almost as if the finger of God came down and wrote something within each of their hearts… (Hint, hint, that’s precisely what He did; and so very much more!)
“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD; I will put My LAW within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:33 & Hebrews 8:10 & 10:16
So while Pentecost is the day the Jews celebrate the Law being given, for the Christian it’s the day we celebrate the SPRIT being given.
In the giving of the Law, while Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Law from God the people were down playing with fire and gold and sinning their little hearts out. In the giving of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was up on the mountain BEING the Law from God (Matthew 5:17) and the Disciples were down being filled with fire and gold and their little hearts were being cleansed from all sin!!!!!
But wait! It get’s better! The similarities don’t stop there! After Moses came down and caught them red-handed he called for those who were on God’s side and told them to go from gate to gate and kill their brothers, neighbors and friends. After the Holy Spirit came down He called for the Disciples to go from one side of the globe to the other and SAVE their brothers, neighbors and friends! AND at the end of that day in Exodus when the final death count had been taken there were 3,000 men dead. But at the end of that day in Acts when the final re-birth count had been taken there were 3,000 men SAVED!
Seriously, how awesome is our God and how lucky are we to be living in a post-resurrection era??? It’s no wonder Paul referred to the Law as the ministry of death!
“For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gave at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. Since we have such a hope, we are very bold., not like Moses who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when on turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:6-18