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— Exodus 32

The Golden Calf Exodus 32

Before the Israelites left Egypt, Moses told them: “Speak now in the hearing of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbor and every woman of her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold” (Exodus 11:2). This is an interesting verse: “Let every man borrow of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, articles of silver and articles of gold.”

It is an example of the sovereignty of God, but it is also an example of the munificence of God in giving so abundantly to these people, as He does again, above and beyond what you ask or think. It is also an example of the folly and foolishness of men. It was those same jewels of gold and silver, which were evidence of the love and goodness of God to them, that they took and made into an idol, the idol of the golden calf, that they idolatrously worshipped when they were not long into the wilderness. How strange it is.

It is also interesting, if you follow it out, to see that the men borrowed articles of gold and silver and the women did the same. Let’s notice what they did with them. We see that here in Exodus 32. Verse 2 reads, “Break off the gold earrings that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters.” All the people broke off the gold earrings that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And as you know, he made the golden calf. Well, my friend, that’s not all of this story. As Paul Harvey used to say, let’s look at the rest of the story.

God told the Israelites in Exodus 33:3 that He would not go up with them, “for you are a stiff-necked people, and I might destroy you on the way.” When the people heard what the Lord had told Moses, “they mourned. And no one put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, ‘Say to the children of Israel, “You are a stiff-necked people. If I went up among you for one moment, I might destroy you. Now therefore, take off your ornaments, so that I may know what I will do to you.” ’ The children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb” (verses 4–6). And so there at the mouth of Horeb, or Sinai, which is the same mount, came the taboo against such ornaments. We today need to realize that God has expressed His opinion about such Egyptian ways.