Monday, October 31, 2011

REFLECTIONS ON EXODUS 32 AND DEUTERONOMY 9 (Part 5)

God Reveals His view of the People (Part 2)

As Moses is on Mt. Sinai in the presence of God, the Israelites recruited Aaron to make for them a golden calf to “go before” them. They then “offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” As God was aware of this behavior, He reported to Moses His perspective of the people. He first stated that, “…your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.” In Deuteronomy 9:12 God is recorded as saying, “…your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly.”

I would, in this entry, like to refer to the second of two points of interest from this passage. This point relates to the statement, “…your people…have corrupted themselves.” The question is sometimes asked, “Do people sin because they are sinners or are they sinners because they sin?” In an attempt to avoid the entanglements of probing this issue in all of its technicalities (as if I actually could), I would like to state, in a simple and straightforward manner, that we establish our own moral character as individuals and, strangely enough (little understood in our age, as a nation (a corporate people). In this passage, as God had been laboring to prepare the people of Israel for a significant purpose in redemptive history, God observes that their choice to quickly violate the commandments delivered to them has spoiled them. They have proven to be unfit for the task for which He has been preparing them. Their choice to pursue idolatry was the watershed moment of proof. Though the church has been great at doing theological gymnastics to explain away such God / man interaction because of preconceived views of God and man it is significant to note that the text indicates that God had certain hopes that were, at that moment, dashed. They willingly, decisively corrupted themselves. Later in the continued history of this people God will state, What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?” (Isaiah 5:4, NASB) To those of our current age we must sound the warning of Hebrews 2:1-3, “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”

NOTE: The pictures I could have used to inspire concern about whether we, as a nation, have corrupted ourselves, are much more shocking then the one I chose. (click at your own risk)

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