WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 19, 2010
NO OTHER GODS
(Our GOD is a jealous GOD)
The rebellious incident by Israeli idolaters, that is depicted in Exodus 32 at the foot of Mount Sinai, shows quite clearly, man’s desperate need for a priesthood and tabernacle system that helps him to keep a persistent relationship of friendship and fellowship with GOD the CREATOR.
The reason that the Gospel must be preached continually, is because man continuously suppresses the truth. After being out of church and worship services for only a short while (since they left Goshen in Egypt), the Israelites were already clearly out of spiritual touch with GOD, WHO had just recently freed them from slavery in Egypt by way of HIS many miraculous deeds.
In the very shadows of a rumbling Mount Sinai the people urge, and ultimately persuade Aaron, to built them an idol of gold, so that they could worship it, instead of GOD. Here in this passage we see that, being without good spiritual leadership, for only a few days, proved fatal to about 3000 people in the short term (vs. 27-28), and many, many more in the long run (v. 35).
While Moses was experiencing a spiritual triumph of sorts in his own rights, the people of Israel had plummeted to one of their all-time lows in their spiritual behavior. Like many Christians today, we often accuse GOD of moving too slowly to please us, and we either try to help GOD out, or, we simply change gods all together, as is the case in this passage of scripture.
Throughout the book of Exodus we see the ungrateful people of Israel reacting to GOD with unprecedented insensitive, rebellious behavior. And whenever Moses would encounter such rebellion among his flock, he would immediately intercede in prayer to GOD to have mercy upon his wayward members. In Exodus 32:11-14 and 30-32, Moses rightly did not base his prayer for the people on their own human merit. He, instead, asked GOD to do it for HIS OWN glorification. He asked GOD to consider HIS OWN faithfulness, and, HIS OWN commitment to HIS people, which flowed from HIS OWN good character.
And while Moses’ prayer did not really change GOD’s mind, for GOD’s anger against the Israelites was truly legit, however, his prayer shows GOD his genuine concern, both, for his people, and, above all, for his concern for GOD’s honor and glorification in the world’s sight (vs. 11-13). Moses’ prayer was effective because his motives were righteous. When we pray with righteous and unselfish motives, GOD is just to answer them quickly and positively.
And finally (vs. 30-35), to act wickedly is to do harm to ones self, and, to others. Evil violates GOD’s unchanging standards, which HE long ago set for HIS human creation. Evil causes “wicked acts”, and, evil is a consequential result of “wicked acts”. Idolatry is just one of the many “wicked acts” that man performs against GOD on a daily, minute-by-minute basis. Making wrong moral choices is what men without GOD do best, and we’ve already proven long ago, that, without GOD, we can’t do anything right, for too long.
As our moral ruler, GOD does not do evil, but rather, HE brings disaster upon evil-doers. And ultimately, when and if we repent, GOD is just and faithful to forgive us. GOD gave Moses a new stone tablet containing the Ten Commandments, after Moses had destroyed the first one in anger. And GOD re-affirmed HIS covenant relationship with HIS chosen people. GOD also re-emphasized HIS laws, which calls for us to worship only HIM. And while Oprah Winfrey and other prominent people try to tell us that there are many ways to get to Heaven, GOD’s word tells us quite clearly, that, the only way to come to HIM is through our belief in, and, our acceptance of, HIS only begotten SON, our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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