Exodus 32:1-35 / John 11:1-57
From Exodus 20 to 32, Moses was with God at Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments and other statutes. At this point, the Israelites became weary and suggested to Aaron that they will make gods to go before them. Thus, they created a golden calf to worship. Upon seeing this, God told Moses that He will destroy the Israelites for they are stiff necked people. Moses intercedes for them and plead to God to show mercy for His name’s sake. When Moses came down from the mountain and saw what the people did, he became very angry with them. Moses cast the two tablets where God wrote His commandments at the foot of the mountain. Furthermore, he threw the golden calf into the fire. This chapter ends with Moses atoning for the sins of the tribe of Israel before God.
Fact: The shortest verse in the bible can be found in this chapter, John 11:35 KJV “Jesus wept”. He wept in this part not because of the death of Lazarus, but because of how hopeless and not trusting in God the people were. Jesus loved Lazarus and his siblings, Martha and Mary. He knew that the sickness of Lazarus will be used for God’s glory (John 11:4). Jesus then raised Lazarus from the dead on the fourth day. As a result of this miracle, the Pharisees were frightened that the people will believe in Jesus more than in them. So they devised plans on how to kill Him. Caiaphas, the high priest at that time, prophesied Christ’s death in John 11:50 (“Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” KJV).
Ex. 32:32 KJV “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin-; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”
John 11:25 KJV “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live:”
Concepts that popped up in my mind when reading this two chapters in the Bible are the following: First, people are sinful even during the Old Testament. Second, we always create excuses to turn away from God. Third, we need someone to be our advocate to God. Lastly, God is unchanging. He is always merciful and just.
Let’s dive into it further.
People are sinful
God’s original plan for man was not to be sinful. When God created man and saw everything He has created, He said it was very good (Genesis 1: 31). Not until our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God and ate of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17) did people sin. After then, people are born with sin, grows up with the tendency to keep sinning and go against God’s will until this very day. The entire Bible tells the history of how the Israelites and later on converted Gentiles, kept sinning and falling into different form of temptations. Paul described it later in his letter to the Romans that no one is righteous and no one is good (Romans 3:10,12). It may come as a shocker to us especially when we consider ourselves as a good person.
But are we really good? Reflecting on the ten commandments will make it easier for us to know if we are good persons. The ten commandments is the description on how a follower of God should act. After all, it is called a commandment for a reason and not just a suggestion.
People’s unending alibis
Alibis or excuses after sinning were first shown in Genesis 3. When Adam blamed Eve for disobeying God’s command on not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. It continued on with Eve blaming the serpent (Satan) for tricking her to eat the fruit. This can also be found in our current scripture, Exodus 32, when Aaron blamed the wickedness of the Israelites (Exodus 32:22), knowing that Moses will get angry at him if he told the truth behind the creation of the golden calf.
Let’s reflect now on our actions. Are we doing this? I definitely did this. I remember when I was a child, to get out of trouble for going home late from roaming around the neighborhood, I will formulate lots of scenarios and alibis in my head. So when my mother ask why I am late, I can use the best alibi I formulated.
Advocate for us
Mediators to a supernatural being were used throughout the history, this practice can be found not only in Christianity, but also in paganism and other religions. Paganism have to offer animal or goods to their gods to provide them with what they want or needed. God appointed prophets and priests in the Old Testament. He chose prophets as His spokespersons to the Israelites (Deut. 18:18) and designated priests to perform the rituals and sacrifices (Deut. 18:3).
The two verses in the observation showed example of intercessors. The former, Moses as a prophet of God, mediated on behalf of the Israelites after creating the golden calf, breaking the second commandment (Exodus 32:32). The latter shows that through Jesus Christ we can live an eternal life with God the Father (John 11:25).
The entire Bible tells how God is unbiased and does not change. God is described in Numbers 23:19 as “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”(KJV). In addition, same as God the Father, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The prophet Isaiah also included God’s word as unchanging when he wrote “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (40:8 KJV).
We may have committed sins and fled away from God. But when we repent for our sins, turn to God for forgiveness and sin no more, God will response with the same mercy and faithfulness He have since the beginning of time.
The Pressing Question
Who is your intercessor?
You can busy yourself to find the intercessor that suites your wants and needs. But in reality, the only TRUE intercessor we really have is Jesus Christ, for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
Jesus Christ, our mediator to the Father. We kneel now asking for Your intercession for us. Thank You for dying on the cross for our sins. Furthermore, we thank You for Your resurrection, giving us hope that by God’s grace we will also be resurrected and spend eternity with You in heaven. We are incapable of dealing with everyday struggles Lord, we need your guidance and support. Thank You fro sending the Holy Spirit to be our defender from the evil ones. Strengthen our faith in You and never leave our side. All this we ask through the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.