Rebellion In The Wilderness By: Margaret R. Wilder

The Israelites were set free from the bondage of Egypt witnessing many supernatural miracles on their behalf, but they still did not trust or reverence God.

This is what God Promised them:

You are to serve Adonai your God; and he will bless your food and water. I will take sickness away from among you. In your land your women will not miscarry or be barren, and you will live out the full span of your lives. I will send terror of me ahead of you, throwing into confusion all the people to whom you come; and I will make all your enemies turn their backs on you. I will send hornets ahead of you to drive out the Hivi, Kena‘ani and Hitti from before you. I will not drive them out from before you in one year, which would cause the land to become desolate and the wild animals too many for you. I will drive them out from before you gradually, until you have grown in number and can take possession of the land. Exodus 23:25-30 (CJB)

Wow! What a Promise!

However these people apparently desired a different "god"---one they did not have to obey and one they could see and touch---even if the "god" was pure fiction--an idol made by their own hands.

They refused to submit to Almighty God's higher authority. No longer captives of Pharaoh, not only did they desire to control their own destiny ignoring God's incredible promises (and warnings) to them, but they wanted a "god" that was more like a genie in a bottle---a "god" that would do their bidding.

The Complete Jewish Bible describes the event like this,

When the people saw that Moshe [Moses] was taking a long time to come down from the mountain, they gathered around Aharon and said to him, “Get busy; and 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.” Exodus 32:1

So What Did They Do?

  • They rejected God and His righteous laws;
  • Created a golden calf;
  • Worshipped it;
  • Threw a drunken party; then
  • Proclaimed this object---was the "god" that brought them out of Egypt!

Exodus 32:7-11

Adonai [God] said to Moshe [Moses], “Go down! Hurry! Your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have become corrupt!
So quickly they have turned aside from the way I ordered them to follow!
They have cast a metal statue of a calf, worshipped it, sacrificed to it and said, ‘Isra’el! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’”
Adonai continued speaking to Moshe: “I have been watching these people; and you can see how stiffnecked they are. Now leave me alone, so that my anger can blaze against them, and I can put an end to them! I will make a great nation out of you instead.”
Moshe pleaded with Adonai his God. He said, “Adonai, 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?

Exodus 32:15-16, 19-24

Moshe turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets inscribed on both sides, on the front and on the back. The tablets were the work of God; and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
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 Isra’el drink it.
Moshe said to Aharon, “What did these people do to you to make you lead them into such a terrible sin?”
Aharon replied, “My lord shouldn’t be so angry. 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!”

Really? Humm...That Gold calf just popped outta that fire?

So as a result of their sin, the first consequence was that 3,000 people died. Afterward the chapter ends with:

Now go and lead the people to the place I told you about; my angel will go ahead of you. Nevertheless, the time for punishment will come; and then I will punish them for their sin.” Adonai struck the people with a plague because they had made the calf, the one Aharon made.

Despite their sin God kept his promise to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. Even after their rebellion God would help lead them to the Promised Land.

Exodus 33:3-5

You will go to a land flowing with milk and honey;
But I myself will not go with you, because you are such a stiffnecked people that I might destroy you on the way.”
When the people heard this bad news, they went into mourning; and no one wore his ornaments. Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘You are a stiffnecked people! If I were to go up with you for even one moment, I would exterminate you! Now, keep your ornaments off; then I will decide what to do to you.’”

This story might leave us scratching our heads in disbelief. Most of us wonder why after being resucued from 400 years of oppresive captivity in Egypt did God's chosen people reject his laws and love?

So quickly after being showered by God with many incredible miracles and blessings---the Israelites' hearts wandered far from their Creator. What a sad outcome!

We must always be on guard not to wander off God's desired path for our lives!

Proverbs 4:23-27 Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences. Keep crooked speech out of your mouth, banish deceit from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze on what lies in front of you. Level the path for your feet, let all your ways be properly prepared; then deviate neither right nor left; and keep your foot far from evil.

Copyright: Rebellion in the Wilderness, Margaret R. Wilder, 01.24.17

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Created with images by Jorge Lascar - "Wadi Rum, the valley where T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) passed by during the Arab Revolt" • pasa47 - "Why" • Orange County Archives - "Miracle orange crate label" • buggolo - "Idiot Test" • Renaud Camus - "Le Jour ni l’Heure 9913 : anon., Le Veau d’or, d’après Nicolas Poussin, musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, Paris, exp. René-Magritte, Centre Georges-Pompidou, diamnche 4 décembre 2016, 20:15:34" • www.brevestoriadelcinema.org - "The Ten Commandments" • Ed Suominen - "Gustav Doré: Moses Giving the Law on Mt. Sinai" • Renaud Camus - "Le Jour ni l’Heure 9913 : anon., Le Veau d’or, d’après Nicolas Poussin, musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, Paris, exp. René-Magritte, Centre Georges-Pompidou, diamnche 4 décembre 2016, 20:15:34" • dimitrisvetsikas1969 - "wave smashing sea" • PublicDomainPictures - "sun set sunset" • Unsplash - "fireworks night celebration" • MartinStr - "milford sound new zealand lord who rings" • Overmarslee - "forget" • dashapro - "girl model blonde" • EladeManu - "walk"

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