A Study by C. H. Mackintosh (1820-1896)   Exodus 32 - The Molten Calf   1  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. 2  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. 3  And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4  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. 5  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. 6  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. 7   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: 8    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. 9    And   the   Lord   said   unto   Moses,   I   have   seen   this   people,   and,   behold,   it is   a   stiffnecked   people: 10    Now   therefore   let   me   alone,   that   my   wrath   may   wax hot   against   them,   and   that   I   may   consume   them:   and   I   will   make   of   thee   a   great nation. 11    And   Moses   besought   the   Lord   his   God,   and   said,   Lord,   why   doth   thy wrath   wax   hot   against   thy   people,   which   thou   hast   brought   forth   out   of   the   land of   Egypt   with   great   power,   and   with   a   mighty   hand? 12    Wherefore   should   the Egyptians   speak,   and   say,   For   mischief   did   he   bring   them   out,   to   slay   them   in the   mountains,   and   to   consume   them   from   the   face   of   the   earth?   Turn   from   thy fierce   wrath,   and   repent   of   this   evil   against   thy   people. 13    Remember   Abraham, Isaac,   and   Israel,   thy   servants,   to   whom   thou   swarest   by   thine   own   self,   and saidst   unto   them,   I   will   multiply   your   seed   as   the   stars   of   heaven,   and   all   this land   that   I   have   spoken   of   will   I   give   unto   your   seed,   and   they   shall   inherit   it for   ever. 14    And   the   Lord   repented   of   the   evil   which   he   thought   to   do   unto   his people. 15    And   Moses   turned,   and   went   down   from   the   mount,   and   the   two   tables   of the   testimony   were   in   his   hand:   the   tables   were   written   on   both   their   sides;   on the   one   side   and   on   the   other   were   they   written. 16   And   the   tables   were   the   work of   God,   and   the   writing   was   the   writing   of   God,   graven   upon   the   tables. 17    And when   Joshua   heard   the   noise   of   the   people   as   they   shouted,   he   said   unto   Moses, There   is   a   noise   of   war   in   the   camp. 18    And   he   said,   It   is   not   the   voice   of   them that    shout    for    mastery,    neither    is    it    the    voice    of    them    that    cry    for    being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. 19    And   it   came   to   pass,   as   soon   as   he   came   nigh   unto   the   camp,   that   he   saw   the calf,   and   the   dancing:   and   Moses’   anger   waxed   hot,   and   he   cast   the   tables   out   of his   hands,   and   brake   them   beneath   the   mount. 20    And   he   took   the   calf   which they   had   made,   and   burnt   it   in   the   fire,   and   ground   it   to   powder,   and   strawed   it upon   the   water,   and   made   the   children   of   Israel   drink   of   it. 21    And   Moses   said unto   Aaron,   What   did   this   people   unto   thee,   that   thou   hast   brought   so   great   a sin   upon   them? 22    And   Aaron   said,   Let   not   the   anger   of   my   lord   wax   hot:   thou knowest   the   people,   that   they   are   set   on   mischief. 23    For   they   said   unto   me, 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. 24   And   I   said   unto   them,   Whosoever   hath   any   gold,   let   them   break   it   off.   So   they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf. 25   And   when   Moses   saw   that   the   people   were   naked;   (for Aaron   had   made   them naked   unto   their   shame   among   their   enemies:) 26    Then   Moses   stood   in   the   gate of   the   camp,   and   said,   Who   is   on   the   Lord’s   side?   let   him   come   unto   me. And   all the   sons   of   Levi   gathered   themselves   together   unto   him. 27    And   he   said   unto them,   Thus   saith   the   Lord   God   of   Israel,   Put   every   man   his   sword   by   his   side, and   go   in   and   out   from   gate   to   gate   throughout   the   camp,   and   slay   every   man his   brother,   and   every   man   his   companion,   and   every   man   his   neighbour. 28   And   the   children   of   Levi   did   according   to   the   word   of   Moses:   and   there   fell   of the    people    that    day    about    three    thousand    men. 29     For    Moses    had    said, Consecrate   yourselves   to   day   to   the   Lord,   even   every   man   upon   his   son,   and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day. 30   And   it   came   to   pass   on   the   morrow,   that   Moses   said   unto   the   people,   Ye   have sinned   a   great   sin:   and   now   I   will   go   up   unto   the   Lord;   peradventure   I   shall make   an   atonement   for   your   sin. 31   And   Moses   returned   unto   the   Lord,   and   said, Oh,   this   people   have   sinned   a   great   sin,   and   have   made   them   gods   of   gold. 32    Yet now,   if   thou   wilt   forgive   their   sin—;   and   if   not,   blot   me,   I   pray   thee,   out   of   thy book   which   thou   hast   written. 33    And   the   Lord   said   unto   Moses,   Whosoever hath   sinned   against   me,   him   will   I   blot   out   of   my   book. 34    Therefore   now   go, lead   the   people   unto   the   place   of   which   I   have   spoken   unto   thee:   behold,   mine Angel   shall   go   before   thee:   nevertheless   in   the   day   when   I   visit   I   will   visit   their sin   upon   them. 35   And   the   Lord   plagued   the   people,   because   they   made   the   calf, which Aaron made.  (KJV)   We    have    now    to    contemplate    something    very    different    from    that    which    has hitherto   engaged   our   attention.   “The   pattern   of   things   in   the   heavens”    (Heb.   9:23) has   been   before   us—Christ   in   His   glorious   Person,   gracious   offices,   and   perfect work,   as   set   forth   in   the   tabernacle   and   all   its   mystic   furniture.   We   have   been,   in spirit,   on   the   mount,   hearkening   to   God’s   own   words—the   sweet   utterances   of heaven’s    thoughts,    affections,    and    counsels,    of    which    Jesus    is    “the   Alpha    and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the first and the last”  (Rev. 22:13). Now,   however,   we   are   called   down   to   earth,   to   behold   the   melancholy   wreck which   man   makes   of   everything   to   which   he   puts   his   hand.   “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”    (vs.   1).   What   degradation   is here!   Make   us   gods!    They   were   abandoning   Jehovah,   and   placing   themselves   under the   conduct   of   manufactured   gods   —   gods   of   man’s   making.   Dark   clouds   and heavy   mists   had   gathered   round   the   mount.   They   grew   weary   of   waiting   for   the absent   one,   and   of   hanging   on   an   unseen   but   real   arm.   They   imagined   that   a   god formed   by   “a   graving   tool”    was   better   than   Jehovah;   that   a   calf   which   they   could   see   was   better   than   the   invisible,   yet   everywhere   present,   God;   a   visible   counterfeit, than an invisible reality. Alas!   alas!   it   has   ever   been   thus   in   man’s   history.   The   human   heart   loves   something that   can   be   seen;   it   loves   that   which   meets   and   gratifies   the   senses.   It   is   only   faith that   can   “endure,   as   seeing   him   who   is   invisible”    (Heb.   11:27).   Hence,   in   every age,   men   have   been   forward   to   set   up   and   lean   upon   human   imitations   of   divine realities.   Thus   it   is   we   see   the   counterfeits   of   corrupt   religion   multiplied   before   our eyes.   Those   things   which   we   know,   upon   the   authority   of   God’s   word,   to   be   divine and   heavenly   realities,   the   professing   Church   has   transformed   into   human   and earthly   imitations.   Having   become   weary   of   hanging   upon   an   invisible   arm,   of trusting    in    an    invisible    sacrifice,    of    having    recourse    to    an    invisible    priest,    of committing   herself   to   the   guidance   of   an   invisible   head,   she   has   set   about   “making”   these   things;   and   thus,   from   age   to   age,   she   has   been   busily   at   work,   with   “graving tool”    in   hand,   graving   and   fashioning   one   thing   after   another,   until   we   can,   at length,   recognize   as   little   similarity   between   much   that   we   see   around   us,   and   what we read in the word, as between “a molten calf”  and the God of Israel.    “Make   us   gods!”       What   a   thought!   Man   called   upon   to   make   gods,   and   people willing   to   put   their   trust   in   such!   My   reader,   let   us   look   within,   and   look   around, and   see   if   we   cannot   detect   something   of   all   this.   We   read,   in   1   Corinthians   10   in reference    to    Israel’s    history,    that    “all    these    things    happened    unto    them    for ensamples” ,   (or   types ),   “and   they   are   written   for   our   admonition,    upon   whom   the ends   of   the   world   are   come”    (I   Cor.   10:11).   Let   us,   then,   seek   to   profit   by   the “admonition.”   Let   us   remember   that,   although   we   may   not   just   form   and   bow down   before   “a   molten   calf,”    yet,   that   Israel’s   sin   is   a   type    of   something   into   which we    are    in    danger    of    falling.    Whenever    we    turn    away    in    heart    from    leaning exclusively   upon   God   Himself,   whether   in   the   matter   of   salvation   or   the   necessities of   the   path,   we   are,   in   principle,   saying,   “up,   make   us   gods.”    It   is   needless   to   say we   are   not,   in   ourselves,   a   whit   better   than   Aaron   or   the   children   of   Israel;   and   if they   acknowledged   a   calf   instead   of   Jehovah,   we   are   in   danger   of   acting   on   the same   principle,   and   manifesting   the   same   spirit.   Our   only   safeguard   is   to   be   much in   the   presence   of   God.   Moses   knew   that   the   “molten   calf”    was   not   Jehovah,   and therefore   he   did   not   acknowledge   it.   But   when   we   get   out   of   the   divine   presence, there is no accounting for the gross errors and evils into which we may be betrayed. We   are   called   to   live   by   faith;   we   can   see   nothing   with   the   eye   of   sense.   Jesus   is gone   up   on   high,   and   we   are   told   to   wait   patiently   for   His   appearing.   God’s   word carried    home    to    the    heart,    in    the    energy    of    the    Holy    Ghost,    is    the    ground    of confidence   in   all   things,   temporal   and   spiritual,   present   and   future.   He   tells   us   of Christ’s   completed   sacrifice;   we,   by   grace,   believe,   and   commit   our   souls   to   the efficacy   thereof,   and   know   we   shall   never   be   confounded.   He   tells   us   of   a   great High   Priest   passed   into   the   heavens,   Jesus,   the   Son   of   God,   whose   intercession   is all-prevailing;   we,   by   grace,   believe,   and   lean   confidingly   upon   His   ability,   and know   we   shall   be   saved   to   the   uttermost.   He   tells   us   of   the   living   Head   to   whom   we are   linked,   in   the   power   of   resurrection   life,   and   from   whom   we   can   never   be severed   by   any   influence,   angelic,   human   or   diabolical;   we,   by   grace,   believe,   and cling   to   that   Blessed   Head,   in   simple   faith,   and   know   we   shall   never   perish.   He   tells us   of   the   glorious   appearing   of   the   Son   from   heaven;   we,   through   grace,   believe, and   seek   to   prove   the   purifying   and   elevating   power   of   “that   blessed   hope,”    and know   we   shall   not   be   disappointed.   He   tells   us   of   “an   inheritance,   incorruptible, undefiled,   and   that   fadeth   not   away,   reserved   in   heaven   for   us,   who   are   kept   by the   power   of   God”    (I   Pet.   1:4),   for   entrance   thereinto   in   due   time;   we,   through grace,   believe   and   know   we   shall   never   be   confounded.   He   tells   us   the   hairs   of   our head   are   all   numbered,   and   that   we   shall   never   want   any   good   thing;   we,   through grace, believe, and enjoy a sweetly tranquillized heart. Thus   it   is,   or,   at   least,   thus   our   God   would   have   it.   But   then   the   enemy   is   ever active   in   seeking   to   make   us   cast   away   these   divine   realities,   take   up   the   “graving tool”    of   unbelief,   and   “make   gods”    for   ourselves.   Let   us   watch   against   him,   pray against   him,   believe   against   him,   testify   against   him,   act   against   him:   thus   he   shall be confounded, God glorified, and we ourselves abundantly blessed. As   to   Israel,   in   the   chapter   before   us,   their   rejection   of   God   was   most   complete. “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   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 ,   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.   Tomorrow   is   a   feast   unto   the   Lord.   (vss.   2,   4-5).   This   was   entirely   setting   aside   God,   and   putting   a   calf   in   His   stead. When   they   could   say   that   a   calf   had   brought   them   up   out   of   Egypt,   they   had, evidently,   abandoned   all   idea   of   the   presence   and   character   of   the   true   God.   How “quickly”    they   must   “have   turned   aside   out   of   the   way”    (vs.   8),   to   have   made   such a   gross   and   terrible   mistake!   And   Aaron,   the   brother   and   yoke-fellow   of   Moses,   led them   on   in   this;   and   with   a   calf   before   him,   he   could   say,   “to-morrow   is   a   feast   unto Jehovah!”    How   sad!   How   deeply   humbling!   God   was   displaced   by   an   idol. A   thing, “graven   by   art   and   man’s   device,”    was   set   in   the   place   of   “the   Lord   of   all   the earth.” All   this   involved,   on   Israel’s   part,   a   deliberate   abandonment   of   their   connection with   Jehovah.   They   had   given   Him   up;   and   accordingly   we   find   Him,   as   it   were, taking   them   on   their   own   ground.   “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   ....   I   have   seen   this   people,   it   is   a   stiff-necked   people:   now therefore   let   me   alone,   that   my   wrath   may   wax   hot   against   them,   and   that   I   may consume   them;   and   I   will   make   of   thee   a   greater   nation”    (vss.   7-10).   Here   was   an open   door   for   Moses;   and   here   he   displays   uncommon   grace   and   similarity   of   spirit to   that   Prophet   whom   the   Lord   was   to   raise   up   like   unto   him.   He   refuses   to   be   or   to have   anything   without   the   people.   He   pleads   with   God   on   the   ground   of   His   own glory,   and   puts   the   people   back   upon   Him   in   these   touching   words,   “Lord,   why doth   thy   wrath   wax   hot   against   thy   people    which   thou    hast   brought   up   out   of   the land    of    Egypt    with    great    power    and    a    mighty    hand?    Wherefore    should    the Egyptians   speak   and   say,   For   mischief   did   he   bring   them   out,   to   slay   them   in   the mountains,   and   to   consume   them   from   the   face   of   the   earth.   Turn   from   thy   fierce wrath   and   repent   of   this   evil   against   thy    people.   Remember   Abraham,   Isaac,   and Israel,   thy   servants,   to   whom   thou   swarest   by   thine   own   self,   and   saidst   unto them,   I   will   multiply   your   seed   as   the   stars   of   heaven;   and   all   this   land   that   I have   spoken   of   will   I   give   unto   your   seed,   and   they   shall   inherit   it   for   ever”   (vss. 11-13).   This   was   powerful   pleading.   The   glory   of   God,   the   vindication   of   His   holy name,   the   accomplishment   of   His   oath.   These   are   the   grounds   on   which   Moses entreats    the    Lord    to    turn    from    His    fierce    wrath.    He    could    not    find,    in    Israel’s conduct    or    character,    any    plea    or    ground    to    go    upon.    He    found    it    all    in    God Himself. The   Lord   had   said   unto   Moses,   Thy    people   which   thou    broughtest   up;”    but Moses   replies   to   the   Lord,   Thy    people   which   thou    hast   brought   up.”    They   were the   Lord’s   people   notwithstanding   all;   and   His   name,   His   glory,   His   oath   were   all involved   in   their   destiny.   The   moment   the   Lord   links   Himself   with   a   people,   His character   is   involved,   and   faith   will   ever   look   at   Him   upon   this   solid   ground.   Moses loses   sight   of   himself   entirely.   His   whole   soul   is   engrossed   with   thoughts   of   the Lord’s   glory   and   the   Lord’s   people.   Blessed   servant!   How   few   like   him!   And   yet when   we   contemplate   him   in   all   this   scene,   we   perceive   how   infinitely   he   is   below the   blessed   Master.   He   came   down   from   the   mount,   and   when   he   saw   the   calf   and the   dancing,   “his   anger   waxed   hot,   and   he   cast   the   tables   out   of   his   hands   and brake    them    beneath    the    mount”     (vs.    19).    The    covenant    was    broken    and    the memorials    thereof    shattered    to    pieces;    and    then,    having    executed    judgment    in righteous   indignation,   “he   said   unto   the   people,   Ye   have   sinned   a   great   sin:   and now   I   will   go   up   unto   the   Lord;   peradventure    I   shall   make   an   atonement   for   your sin” (vs. 30). How   different   is   this   from   what   we   see   in   Christ!   He   came   down   from   the   bosom of   the   Father,   not   with   the   tables   in   His   hands,   but   with   the   law   in   His   heart.   He came   down,   not   to   be   made   acquainted   with   the   condition   of   the   people,   but   with   a perfect   knowledge   of   what   that   condition   was.   Moreover,   instead   of   destroying   the memorials   of   the   covenant   and   executing   judgment,   He   magnified   the   law   and made   it   honourable,   and   bore   the   judgment   of   His   people,   in   His   own   blessed Person,   on   the   cross;   and,   having   done   all,   He   went   back   to   heaven,   not   with   a peradventure    I   shall   make   an   atonement   for   your   sin,”    but   to   lay   upon   the   throne of   the   majesty   in   the   highest,   the   imperishable   memorials   of   an   atonement   already accomplished.   This   makes   a   vast   and   truly   glorious   difference.   Thank   God,   we   need not    anxiously    gaze    after    our    Mediator    to    know    if    haply    He    shall    accomplish redemption   for   us,   and   reconcile   offended   Justice.   No,   He   has   done   it   all.   His presence   on   high   declares   that   the   whole   work   is   finished.   He   could   stand   upon   the confines   of   this   world,   ready   to   take   His   departure,   and,   in   all   the   calmness   of   a conscious   victor—though   He   had   yet   to   encounter   the   darkest   scene   of   all—say,   “I have   glorified   thee   on   the   earth;   I   have   finished   the   work   which   thou   gavest   me to   do”    (John   17:4).   Blessed   Saviour!   We   may   well   adore   thee,   and   well   exult   in   the place   of   dignity   and   glory   in   which   eternal   justice   has   set   thee.   The   highest   place   in heaven   belongs   to   thee;   and   thy   saints   only   wait   for   the   time   when   “every   knee shall   bow   and   every   tongue   confess   that   Jesus   Christ   is   Lord   to   the   glory   of   God the Father”  (Phil. 2:9). May that time speedily arrive! At   the   close   of   this   chapter   Jehovah   asserts   His   rights,   in   moral   government,   in   the following   words:   “Whosoever   hath   sinned   against   me,   him   will   I   blot   out   of   my book.   Therefore,   now   go,   lead   the   people   unto   the   place   of   which   I   have   spoken unto   thee:   behold,   mine   angel   shall   go   before   thee:   nevertheless,   in   the   day   when I   visit   I   will   visit   their   sin   upon   them”   (vs.   33-34).   This   is   God   in   government ,   not God   in   the   gospel .   Here   He   speaks   of   blotting   out   the   sinner ;   in   the   gospel   He   is   seen blotting out sin . A wide difference! The   people   are   to   be   sent   forward,   under   the   mediatorship   of   Moses   by   the   hand   of an   angel.   This   was   very   unlike   the   condition   of   things   which   obtained   from   Egypt to   Sinai.   They   had   forfeited   all   claim   on   the   ground   of   law,   and   hence   it   only remained    for    God    to    fall    back    upon    His    own    sovereignty    and    say,    “I    will    be gracious   to   whom   I   will   be   gracious,   and   will   shew   mercy   on   whom   I   will   shew mercy”  (Ex. 33:19).  —— This article is taken from:  Mackintosh, C. H.  Notes on the Book of Exodus. London: George Morrish, 1858.  A PDF file of this book can be downloaded, free of charge, at http://www.ClassicChristianLibrary.com        
© 1994-2017, Scott Sperling
A Study by C. H. Mackintosh (1820- 1896)   Exodus 32 - The Molten Calf   1  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. 2   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. 3  And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4  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. 5  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. 6  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. 7     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: 8   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. 9    And   the   Lord   said   unto   Moses,   I   have seen    this    people,    and,    behold,    it    is    a    stiffnecked people: 10     Now    therefore    let    me    alone,    that    my wrath   may   wax   hot   against   them,   and   that   I   may consume    them:    and    I    will    make    of    thee    a    great nation. 11    And   Moses   besought   the   Lord   his   God, and   said,   Lord,   why   doth   thy   wrath   wax   hot   against thy   people,   which   thou   hast   brought   forth   out   of the    land    of    Egypt    with    great    power,    and    with    a mighty   hand? 12    Wherefore   should   the   Egyptians speak,   and   say,   For   mischief   did   he   bring   them   out, to    slay    them    in    the    mountains,    and    to    consume them    from    the    face    of    the    earth?    Turn    from    thy fierce    wrath,    and    repent    of    this    evil    against    thy people. 13     Remember   Abraham,    Isaac,    and    Israel, thy   servants,   to   whom   thou   swarest   by   thine   own self,   and   saidst   unto   them,   I   will   multiply   your   seed as   the   stars   of   heaven,   and   all   this   land   that   I   have spoken   of   will   I   give   unto   your   seed,   and   they   shall inherit   it   for   ever. 14    And   the   Lord   repented   of   the evil which he thought to do unto his people. 15    And    Moses    turned,    and    went    down    from    the mount,   and   the   two   tables   of   the   testimony   were   in his    hand:    the    tables    were    written    on    both    their sides;   on   the   one   side   and   on   the   other   were   they written. 16    And   the   tables   were   the   work   of   God, and    the    writing    was    the    writing    of    God,    graven upon    the    tables. 17     And    when    Joshua    heard    the noise   of   the   people   as   they   shouted,   he   said   unto Moses,   There   is   a   noise   of   war   in   the   camp. 18    And he   said,   It   is   not   the   voice   of   them   that   shout   for mastery,   neither   is   it   the   voice   of   them   that   cry   for being   overcome:   but   the   noise   of   them   that   sing   do I hear. 19    And   it   came   to   pass,   as   soon   as   he   came   nigh unto    the    camp,    that    he    saw    the    calf,    and    the dancing:   and   Moses’   anger   waxed   hot,   and   he   cast the   tables   out   of   his   hands,   and   brake   them   beneath the   mount. 20    And   he   took   the   calf   which   they   had made,    and    burnt    it    in    the    fire,    and    ground    it    to powder,   and   strawed   it   upon   the   water,   and   made the   children   of   Israel   drink   of   it. 21    And   Moses   said unto   Aaron,   What   did   this   people   unto   thee,   that thou   hast   brought   so   great   a   sin   upon   them? 22    And Aaron   said,   Let   not   the   anger   of   my   lord   wax   hot: thou    knowest    the    people,    that    they    are    set    on mischief. 23    For   they   said   unto   me,   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. 24    And   I   said   unto them,   Whosoever   hath   any   gold,   let   them   break   it off.   So   they   gave   it   me:   then   I   cast   it   into   the   fire, and there came out this calf. 25     And    when    Moses    saw    that    the    people    were naked;   (for   Aaron   had   made   them   naked   unto   their shame   among   their   enemies:) 26    Then   Moses   stood in   the   gate   of   the   camp,   and   said,   Who   is   on   the Lord’s   side?   let   him   come   unto   me. And   all   the   sons of   Levi   gathered   themselves   together   unto   him. 27   And   he   said   unto   them,   Thus   saith   the   Lord   God   of Israel,   Put   every   man   his   sword   by   his   side,   and   go in   and   out   from   gate   to   gate   throughout   the   camp, and   slay   every   man   his   brother,   and   every   man   his companion,   and   every   man   his   neighbour. 28    And the   children   of   Levi   did   according   to   the   word   of Moses:   and   there   fell   of   the   people   that   day   about three     thousand     men. 29      For     Moses     had     said, Consecrate    yourselves    to    day    to    the    Lord,    even every   man   upon   his   son,   and   upon   his   brother;   that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day. 30    And   it   came   to   pass   on   the   morrow,   that   Moses said   unto   the   people,   Ye   have   sinned   a   great   sin: and   now   I   will   go   up   unto   the   Lord;   peradventure   I shall   make   an   atonement   for   your   sin. 31   And   Moses returned   unto   the   Lord,   and   said,   Oh,   this   people have   sinned   a   great   sin,   and   have   made   them   gods of   gold. 32    Yet   now,   if   thou   wilt   forgive   their   sin—; and   if   not,   blot   me,   I   pray   thee,   out   of   thy   book which   thou   hast   written. 33    And   the   Lord   said   unto Moses,    Whosoever    hath    sinned    against    me,    him will   I   blot   out   of   my   book. 34    Therefore   now   go, lead    the    people    unto    the    place    of    which    I    have spoken    unto    thee:    behold,    mine    Angel    shall    go before   thee:   nevertheless   in   the   day   when   I   visit   I will    visit    their    sin    upon    them. 35     And    the    Lord plagued    the    people,    because    they    made    the    calf, which Aaron made.  (KJV)   We   have   now   to   contemplate   something   very   different from   that   which   has   hitherto   engaged   our   attention. “The   pattern   of   things   in   the   heavens”    (Heb.   9:23)   has been     before     us—Christ     in     His     glorious     Person, gracious   offices,   and   perfect   work,   as   set   forth   in   the tabernacle   and   all   its   mystic   furniture.   We   have   been, in    spirit,    on    the    mount,    hearkening    to    God’s    own words—the    sweet    utterances    of    heaven’s    thoughts, affections,   and   counsels,   of   which   Jesus   is   “the   Alpha and   Omega,   the   beginning   and   the   ending,   the   first and the last”  (Rev. 22:13). Now,   however,   we   are   called   down   to   earth,   to   behold the   melancholy   wreck   which   man   makes   of   everything to   which   he   puts   his   hand.   “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”     (vs.    1).    What    degradation    is    here! Make    us    gods!     They    were    abandoning    Jehovah,    and placing        themselves        under        the        conduct        of manufactured    gods    —    gods    of    man’s    making.    Dark clouds    and    heavy    mists    had    gathered    round    the mount.   They   grew   weary   of   waiting   for   the   absent   one, and    of    hanging    on    an    unseen    but    real    arm.    They imagined   that   a   god   formed   by   “a   graving   tool”    was better   than   Jehovah;   that   a   calf   which   they   could   see   was   better   than   the   invisible,   yet   everywhere   present, God; a visible counterfeit, than an invisible reality. Alas!   alas!   it   has   ever   been   thus   in   man’s   history.   The human   heart   loves   something   that   can   be   seen;   it   loves that   which   meets   and   gratifies   the   senses.   It   is   only faith     that     can     “endure,     as     seeing     him     who     is invisible”    (Heb.   11:27).   Hence,   in   every   age,   men   have been     forward     to     set     up     and     lean     upon     human imitations    of    divine    realities.    Thus    it    is    we    see    the counterfeits   of   corrupt   religion   multiplied   before   our eyes.   Those   things   which   we   know,   upon   the   authority of   God’s   word,   to   be   divine   and   heavenly   realities,   the professing   Church   has   transformed   into   human   and earthly   imitations.   Having   become   weary   of   hanging upon    an    invisible    arm,    of    trusting    in    an    invisible sacrifice,   of   having   recourse   to   an   invisible   priest,   of committing    herself    to    the    guidance    of    an    invisible head,   she   has   set   about   “making”    these   things;   and thus,   from   age   to   age,   she   has   been   busily   at   work, with   “graving   tool”    in   hand,   graving   and   fashioning one    thing    after    another,    until    we    can,    at    length, recognize   as   little   similarity   between   much   that   we   see around   us,   and   what   we   read   in   the   word,   as   between “a molten calf”  and the God of Israel.    “Make   us   gods!”       What   a   thought!   Man   called   upon to   make   gods,   and   people   willing   to   put   their   trust   in such!   My   reader,   let   us   look   within,   and   look   around, and   see   if   we   cannot   detect   something   of   all   this.   We read,   in   1   Corinthians   10   in   reference   to   Israel’s   history, that     “all     these     things     happened     unto     them     for ensamples” ,   (or   types ),   “and   they   are   written   for   our admonition,    upon   whom   the   ends   of   the   world   are come”    (I   Cor.   10:11).   Let   us,   then,   seek   to   profit   by   the “admonition.”    Let    us    remember    that,    although    we may   not   just   form   and   bow   down   before   “a   molten calf,”    yet,   that   Israel’s   sin   is   a   type    of   something   into which   we   are   in   danger   of   falling.   Whenever   we   turn away    in    heart    from    leaning    exclusively    upon    God Himself,    whether    in    the    matter    of    salvation    or    the necessities    of    the    path,    we    are,    in    principle,    saying, “up,   make   us   gods.”    It   is   needless   to   say   we   are   not,   in ourselves,   a   whit   better   than   Aaron   or   the   children   of Israel;    and    if    they    acknowledged    a    calf    instead    of Jehovah,    we    are    in    danger    of    acting    on    the    same principle,   and   manifesting   the   same   spirit.   Our   only safeguard   is   to   be   much   in   the   presence   of   God.   Moses knew    that    the    “molten    calf”     was    not    Jehovah,    and therefore   he   did   not   acknowledge   it.   But   when   we   get out   of   the   divine   presence,   there   is   no   accounting   for the    gross    errors    and    evils    into    which    we    may    be betrayed. We   are   called   to   live   by   faith;   we   can   see   nothing   with the   eye   of   sense.   Jesus   is   gone   up   on   high,   and   we   are told   to   wait   patiently   for   His   appearing.   God’s   word carried   home   to   the   heart,   in   the   energy   of   the   Holy Ghost,    is    the    ground    of    confidence    in    all    things, temporal   and   spiritual,   present   and   future.   He   tells   us of   Christ’s   completed   sacrifice;   we,   by   grace,   believe, and   commit   our   souls   to   the   efficacy   thereof,   and   know we   shall   never   be   confounded.   He   tells   us   of   a   great High   Priest   passed   into   the   heavens,   Jesus,   the   Son   of God,   whose   intercession   is   all-prevailing;   we,   by   grace, believe,    and    lean    confidingly    upon    His    ability,    and know   we   shall   be   saved   to   the   uttermost.   He   tells   us   of the   living   Head   to   whom   we   are   linked,   in   the   power of   resurrection   life,   and   from   whom   we   can   never   be severed   by   any   influence,   angelic,   human   or   diabolical; we,   by   grace,   believe,   and   cling   to   that   Blessed   Head, in   simple   faith,   and   know   we   shall   never   perish.   He tells    us    of    the    glorious    appearing    of    the    Son    from heaven;   we,   through   grace,   believe,   and   seek   to   prove the    purifying    and    elevating    power    of    “that    blessed hope,”    and   know   we   shall   not   be   disappointed.   He tells   us   of   “an   inheritance,   incorruptible,   undefiled, and   that   fadeth   not   away,   reserved   in   heaven   for   us, who   are   kept   by   the   power   of   God”    (I   Pet.   1:4),   for entrance    thereinto    in    due    time;    we,    through    grace, believe   and   know   we   shall   never   be   confounded.   He tells   us   the   hairs   of   our   head   are   all   numbered,   and that   we   shall   never   want   any   good   thing;   we,   through grace, believe, and enjoy a sweetly tranquillized heart. Thus   it   is,   or,   at   least,   thus   our   God   would   have   it.   But then   the   enemy   is   ever   active   in   seeking   to   make   us cast   away   these   divine   realities,   take   up   the   “graving tool”    of   unbelief,   and   “make   gods”    for   ourselves.   Let us   watch   against   him,   pray   against   him,   believe   against him,   testify   against   him,   act   against   him:   thus   he   shall be     confounded,     God     glorified,     and     we     ourselves abundantly blessed. As   to   Israel,   in   the   chapter   before   us,   their   rejection   of God   was   most   complete.   “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   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 ,   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.   Tomorrow   is   a   feast   unto   the   Lord.    (vss.   2,   4-5). This   was   entirely   setting   aside   God,   and   putting   a   calf in    His    stead.    When    they    could    say    that    a    calf    had brought   them   up   out   of   Egypt,   they   had,   evidently, abandoned   all   idea   of   the   presence   and   character   of   the true    God.    How    “quickly”     they    must    “have    turned aside   out   of   the   way”    (vs.   8),   to   have   made   such   a gross   and   terrible   mistake! And Aaron,   the   brother   and yoke-fellow   of   Moses,   led   them   on   in   this;   and   with   a calf   before   him,   he   could   say,   “to-morrow   is   a   feast unto   Jehovah!”    How   sad!   How   deeply   humbling!   God was   displaced   by   an   idol.   A   thing,   “graven   by   art   and man’s   device,”    was   set   in   the   place   of   “the   Lord   of   all the earth.” All     this     involved,     on     Israel’s     part,     a     deliberate abandonment   of   their   connection   with   Jehovah.   They had   given   Him   up;   and   accordingly   we   find   Him,   as   it were,    taking    them    on    their    own    ground.    “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   ....   I   have   seen   this   people,   it   is   a   stiff-necked people:   now   therefore   let   me   alone,   that   my   wrath may   wax   hot   against   them,   and   that   I   may   consume them;   and   I   will   make   of   thee   a   greater   nation”    (vss. 7-10).   Here   was   an   open   door   for   Moses;   and   here   he displays   uncommon   grace   and   similarity   of   spirit   to that   Prophet   whom   the   Lord   was   to   raise   up   like   unto him.   He   refuses   to   be   or   to   have   anything   without   the people.   He   pleads   with   God   on   the   ground   of   His   own glory,   and   puts   the   people   back   upon   Him   in   these touching   words,   “Lord,   why   doth   thy   wrath   wax   hot against   thy   people    which   thou    hast   brought   up   out   of the    land    of    Egypt    with    great    power    and    a    mighty hand?    Wherefore    should    the    Egyptians    speak    and say,   For   mischief   did   he   bring   them   out,   to   slay   them in   the   mountains,   and   to   consume   them   from   the   face of   the   earth.   Turn   from   thy   fierce   wrath   and   repent   of this    evil    against    thy     people.    Remember    Abraham, Isaac,   and   Israel,   thy   servants,   to   whom   thou   swarest by    thine    own    self,    and    saidst    unto    them,    I    will multiply   your   seed   as   the   stars   of   heaven;   and   all   this land   that   I   have   spoken   of   will   I   give   unto   your   seed, and   they   shall   inherit   it   for   ever”   (vss.   11-13).   This was     powerful     pleading.     The     glory     of     God,     the vindication   of   His   holy   name,   the   accomplishment   of His    oath.    These    are    the    grounds    on    which    Moses entreats   the   Lord   to   turn   from   His   fierce   wrath.   He could    not    find,    in    Israel’s    conduct    or    character,    any plea   or   ground   to   go   upon.   He   found   it   all   in   God Himself. The   Lord   had   said   unto   Moses,   Thy    people   which thou    broughtest   up;”    but   Moses   replies   to   the   Lord, Thy    people   which   thou    hast   brought   up.”    They   were the   Lord’s   people   notwithstanding   all;   and   His   name, His   glory,   His   oath   were   all   involved   in   their   destiny. The   moment   the   Lord   links   Himself   with