Who or what comes first in our lives? What is supposed to come first? Love? Money? Career? Country? Community? Family? Justice? Truth? Something else? There are a lot of candidates.
God clears it up for us. In the first commandment he declares “You shall have no other Gods.”
It makes sense. When we obey God, we love people and forgive. We work together for good. We resist sin and exercise self control. We have contentment now and confidence in the future. We sacrifice for people because Jesus sacrificed for us.
When we disobey God, chaos follows. We work for our own good and put others down. We pursue self-indulgence and sin. We are discontent now and we fear for the future. We expect others to sacrifice for us because we have to look out for number one.
We have many examples in front of us today. We see oppression and distrust. We see lives filled with discontent and depression. We see chaos, hatred, and destruction.
It’s not new. It happened with the Golden Calf in Exodus 32. The Israelites abandoned Moses, rejected God, and indulged in gross and public sin. And chaos reigned.
We have to see what God wants us to see at the Golden Calf. We are tempted to see ourselves as the faithful ones and other people as the rebels. Consider who fell.
Aaron was God’s spokesman. He had seen God standing on the sapphire pavement. The seventy elders had partaken of a divine banquet on the mountain (Exodus 24). And only forty days later, they lost it all. They were unwilling to face conflict for God. They gave in to the people who wanted to love pleasure, flesh, and idols.
Aaron’s feeble excuses are just as pathetic as our own for not loving God above all things. The Levites, however, rallied to Moses’ call and showed that they loved the Lord even more than they loved their brothers. That’s rare. They showed that God was more important than anyone! On that day they were totally committed to God.
We read from the 19th chapter of the book of Exodus, Moses’ on-the-scene account, written word-for-word as God inspired him to write.
Exodus 32:15–29 (EHV)
15Moses turned and went down the mountain, with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hand—tablets that were written on both sides, written on one side and on the other. 16The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
17When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is the noise of war in the camp.”
18Moses said, “It is not the sound of people who shout for victory; neither is it the sound of people who cry because of defeat. But I do hear the sound of people who are celebrating.”
19As soon as Moses came near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing, and Moses’ anger burned. So he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20He took the calf that they had made, burned it with fire, ground it to powder, and scattered it on the water. Then he made the people of Israel drink it.
21Moses said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you have brought such a great sin on them?”
22Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord burn. You know these people. They are set on evil, 23so they said to me, ‘Make a god for us, who will go ahead of us, because this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 24So I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, pull it off.’ So they gave it to me. I threw it into the fire and out came this calf.”
25When Moses saw that the people were out of control (for Aaron had let them get so out of control that they were disgraced among their enemies), 26Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side, come to me!”
All the descendants of Levi gathered themselves together to Moses. 27He said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Every man is to strap his sword on his thigh and go back and forth throughout the camp, from one gate of the camp to the other, and every man is to kill his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’ ” 28The Levites did what Moses said, and that day about three thousand men from among the people fell. 29Moses said, “Begin your service of the Lord today. Yes, because every man among you took a stand against his son and against his brother, the Lord is bestowing a blessing on you today.”
God bless you,
Worship at Trinity
Here’s Sunday’s service: https://youtu.be/yQTtECay2Zs
Or you can watch it from our website: https://trinitymarinette.com/sermon-archive/531/
Or you can watch is on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TrinityEvLutheranChurchWisSynod/
Come and worship with us! You can sign up here: https://trinitymarinette.com/events/july-05-06-worship/ or call Pastor or call the church office to let us know which service you prefer. It is wise to wait a bit if you are at risk or would just like to wait for the pandemic to fade. God willing, we will worship together when he ends this plague.
Here is this week’s bulletin: https://trinitymarinette.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2020-07-05-Announcements-The-Fifth-Sunday-after-Pentecost.pdf. Check it out. There is a lot coming up at Trinity!
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Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church
1501 Thomas St.
Marinette, WI 54143