This passage reveals how serious sin is to the Lord. Moses angrily broke the stone tablets to symbolize that Israel had broken the covenant. Although Aaron shifted the blame and made a feeble explanation, Moses was right to confront him before confronting the people.
The people knew God, but they refused to glorify Him. They devised a substitute for the praise, glory and worship that belong to God. They had to have a visible image, something they could see and touch. This mistake is not just made by primitive people. It is a common sin that most of us commit.
Part of leadership’s responsibility is to restrain their people from doing what will bring them harm or judgment. Aaron tried to shift the blame to something else. He wasn’t willing to face up to the truth. Failure to do this brought shame on the Lord and His chosen people in front of their enemies.
This is a good example of comedian Flip Wilson’s famous line: “The devil made me do it.” When we try to shift the blame, we deceive ourselves. We shift between self-pity and self-blame. Either extreme is destructive. Self-pity can turn us into cringing nothings. Self-blame can drain us of power and make us impotent to live creatively and responsibly.
All sin is wrong. It doesn’t matter what the size of the sin is. All sins separate us from God. It is only when we accept personal responsibility that the process of repentance and restoration can begin to work in our lives.
Life is full of consequences. All of us must sit down and accept the consequences of our actions. Our capacity to follow the example of Aaron is almost infinite. We often choose to be in denial until we are far from reality.
God forgives sin and wickedness when we repent and come to Him in faith, but that does not mean that we will not suffer the consequences of our actions The Levites knew that when it comes to the conflict between good and evil, neutrality can’t exist. Submission to the Lord is hard to do, but His will is more important than family and national ties. Moses interceded for the people he loved so much, hoping he could atone for their sin. Of course, as a sinner himself, Moses could not so, but his words convey the picture of the sacrifice of Christ, which was able to make atonement for humanity.
Moses’ intercession on behalf of the Israelites is an overwhelming lesson in love and concern. He made it clear to God that he wanted to die with his people if they were not spared. He offered the greatest sacrifice he knew-his own relationship with God and his hope of eternal salvation.
There is a great difference between prayer and intercession. Prayer is what we do for ourselves. We pray for blessing, health, and protection. Intercession is when we stand in the gap for others.
Moses was Christ-like as he offered himself. We can never be the atonement for sin as Christ was, but we can play a Christ-like sacrificial role. When we intercede for others, they will be protected. In doing so we will be willing to take the blows.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; pp. 116-117)
- Dunnam, M.D. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 2: Exodus (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1987; pp. 328-336)
- Stanley, C.F: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- “Moses.” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Greg Laurie, “Are All Sins the Same?” Retrieved from Crosswalk@crosswalkmail.com
- Pastor Dick Woodward, “A Banquet of Consequences.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Dr. Paul Chappell, “Blaming the Fire.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org