“But the moment Moshe got near the camp, when he saw the calf and the dancing, his own anger blazed up. He threw down the tablets he had been holding and shattered them at the base of the mountain. Seizing the calf they had made, he melted it in the fire and ground it to powder, which he scattered on the water. Then he made the people of Israel drink it.”-Exodus 32:19-20
Moses is on his way back down the mountain when he runs into Joshua.
Recall that Joshua was stationed partway up the mountain when Moses went up to the summit.
Thus he heard the uproar of the Israelite revelry from afar and wasn’t close enough to see what was actually going on.
Joshua, being the military man he is, immediately jumps to the conclusion that all the noise and clamor means battle.
Moses informs Joshua “no, the exact opposite is occurring, they’re partying like there’s no tomorrow“.
There is an ancient Hebrew proverb that says “hearing is not the same as seeing”.
While up on the mountaintop, the Lord had already informed Moses what the people were up to.
But until he actually witnessed the sinful actions of the people with his own eyes, Moses’ understanding of the Lord’s rage was only a conceptual head matter.
Remember Moses had initially begged God to NOT exercise divine wrath against the people saying “why must your anger blaze against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and a strong hand? Why let the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intentions that he led them out, to slaughter them in the hills and wipe them off the face of the earth’?“
But once Moses reached the valley floor and saw what the people had done, all of those feelings went right out the proverbial window and he ended up doing what he had originally pleaded God not to do.
Moses explodes in an outburst of anger, flinging and smashing.
He hurls the tablets to the ground where they smash into hundreds of pieces.
He then takes the calf, melts it down, grinds it into dust and sprinkles it into the people’s drinking water.
And then forces the now gold dust water down the people’s throats, one by one.
This act of righteous indignation kind of reminds me of what Yeshua did when he overturned the tables of the moneychangers in the temple.
In the Middle East, the breaking of tablets was no insignificant matter.
According to the customs of the times, when a covenant was violated, the clay tablets it was written on were ceremonially thrown down and shattered to signify that the covenant was now null and void.
This is exactly what Moses did and the people knew immediately what his actions signified.
The hours-old covenant was now dead and gone.
Moses then asks Aaron, what in the world possessed you to agree with the people to build this blasphemous idol?
Aaron’s response is as lame as the reasoning behind it.
“You know what these people are like, that they are determined to do evil. So they said to me, ‘Make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Moshe, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt — we don’t know what has become of him.’ I answered them, ‘Anyone with gold, strip it off!’ So they gave it to me. I threw it in the fire, and out came this calf!”
Translation: “They asked me to do it”.
Aaron had caved into peer and social pressure, period.
A character weakness that is NOT fit for a man of God.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many people in the ministry mistakenly strive to be all things to all people instead of taking a stand for the Lord.
This is a challenge that sooner or later we will all face.
Do I please the Lord or my friends?
Do I please the Lord or my family?
Do I please the Lord or society?
Aaron had made the wrong choice.
And this is the EXACT challenge that Moses laid down before the people.
He throws down the gauntlet and calls out to those who are with God to come over and stand by him.
Here, yet again, we get a perfect demonstration of the Godly principle of Division & Separation that first occurred when the Lord separated darkness from light at the creation.
I find it interesting that this Scriptural principle of Division & Separation flies right in the face of most typical modern day church doctrine that promotes the fallacious idea that God unites.
From a Scriptural perspective, this “unity at any cost” doctrine is a bunch of hogwash.
The Lord divides and separates to create unity.
What we’re actually seeing here is a kind of double division.
The Book of Exodus is all about the Lord separating Israel from the rest of the world as His People.
But here in chapter 32, the Lord is getting even more microscopic in His division.
He is dividing and separating inside of Israel to further achieve His will.
And this process of division, separation and election is continuing today with Yeshua Himself being the dividing sword.
Unfortunately, much of the church today mistakenly believes that unity is an acceptable compromise if it achieves “peace” and consensus.
This is hogwash!
Scriptural or Godly unity has NOTHING to do with consensus, conforming to the world, or compromise.
Unity is ONENESS with the Lord’s Spirit.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Yeshua entered the temple courts
and drove out all who were buying and selling there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers
and the benches of those selling doves.”
“Don’t suppose that I have come to bring peace.
It is not peace I have come to bring,
but a sword!
For I have come to set
a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law,
so that a man’s enemies will be
the members of his own household.”
“Those who are not with me are against me,
and those who do not gather with me are scattering.”