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A Golden Calf and a Black Heart

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Exodus 32:1–6 ESV
1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” 6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
Whether you are an Auburn fan or an Alabama, it is hard to argue with the fact that Nick Saban is one of - if not the best - college football coach that has ever lived.
NICK SABAN
He has won eight SEC championships
He currently has six National Championships and is tied with Bear Bryant for the most National Championships by a head coach.
Alabama has 28 offensive players in the NFL and 39 Defensive players in the NFL
That is a total of 67 players that formerly played for Alabama that now plays for the NFL
It is also hard to argue with the fact that Bill Belichick is the greatest NFL coach that has ever lived.
BILL BELICHICK
He has been the New England Patriots for 20 years, and in those 20 years:
He has more playoff wins than any head coach with 21 playoff wins
He has won nine conference titles (the most conference titles by a head coach in the Super Bowl Era)
He has made twelve Super Bowl appearances (the most Super Bowl appearances by any head coach)
He has won six Super Bowls as the head coach of the Patriots and He won two Super bowls as the New York Giants Defensive Coordinator (More titles than any other coach)
And he is a three time NFL coach of the year
These are the two best football coaches that have ever lived. Can you imagine how lucky a team would be to have the two best coaches in Football history on their team? As it turns out, there was a time when both of these coaches were on the same team.
From 1991 to 1994, Nick Saban and Bill Belichick were employed as coaches together for the Cleveland browns
Nick Saban served as the Defensive Coordinator and Bill Belichick served as the Head Coach.
And in 1994, after a pitiful 5-11 season, the team that had what would become the two greatest coaches in football history fired them both
When the Browns didn’t get the immediate results they wanted, they threw away the gold mine that they held in their hands.
And that is the situation we see with the Israelites in

Lessons We Learn From the Story:

The Mosaic Covenant was Insufficient from the Start

Exodus 32:
Exodus 32:15–20 ESV
15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” 18 But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” 19 And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20 He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it.
The Noahic Covenant
Throughout Israel’s history, God made different covenants or agreements with them, and they were all contingent upon Israel’s obedience.

The Noahic Covenant

Genesis 9:8–15 ESV
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Immorality Always Follows Idolatry

Genesis 15:18–20 ESV
18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,

Immorality Always Follows Idolatry

Deuteronomy 11:8–9 ESV
8 “You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, 9 and that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey.
Deut. 11

The Davidic Covenant

2 Samuel 7:8–16 ESV
8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”

Immorality Always Follows Idolatry

Immorality Always Follows Idolatry

Exodus 32:
Exodus 32:5–6 NIV
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
The Israelites did not break the first commandment, but the second commandment:
Exodus 20:3–6 ESV
3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exodus 20:3-
The Israelites had spent 400 years in a polytheistic Egypt, meaning they had learned to worship many gods rather than exclusively worshipping Yahweh - the one true God.
So, when Moses goes up on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and the Israelites are left without leadership, they revert back to the only thing they know - Idolatry.
But to the Israelites credit, they were not trying to worship a new god altogether, they were simply trying to create an image to represent Yahweh.
Exodus 32:
Exodus 32:2–4 ESV
2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
But idolatry, no matter how innocently it is birthed, always leads to actions we never initially intended.
As soon as the Israelites began to worship the golden calf a new desire for sin was born in their hearts and they began to indulge in revelry.
They began to say and do things that they might now would have formerly done.
Idolatry is the push that sends the wheel of sin barreling down a hillside
It makes men with good intentions go crazy with sin and immorality
Why do you think Christian men lose their minds during sports events?
Why do you think they scream and yell and say and do things they would never do or say elsewhere?
It is because they have commited idolatry
Idolatry creeps into our lives when we begin to feel like God is insufficient.
We begin to feel like God is all He is cracked up to be.
This is what happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden
Genesis 3:1–7 ESV
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
Genesis 3:1-
Romans 1:21–25 ESV
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Romans 1:21-
When the Israelites built that golden calf and bowed down to it, it symbolically brought them back to the slavery that God had liberated them from.
The captives who were set free walked back into their slavery all on their own
And when we return to immoral behavior, it as if we are putting the shackles back on and becoming a slave to the sin Christ set us free from all over again.
When we are set free from the slavery of sin, it makes no sense to return and revert back to the former slavery that held us in bondage.
Galatians 5:1 ESV
1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
When we try to revert back to sin, it is like an African American slave who escaped from his plantation, followed the underground railroad, and reached the north - gaining his freedom - only to turn right around and walk right back into his plantation.
It doesn’t make logical sense
Proverbs 26:11
Proverbs 26:11 ESV
11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
2 Peter 2:20–22 ESV
20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
2 Peter
Romans 6:16–23 ESV
16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:16-
So, if it doesn’t make sense, why do we do it?
Because we all do it.
Even the apostle Paul did it.
He said, “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate! Wretched man that I am!”
We do it because as long as we live on this earth, until the Lord comes back and delivers us from this existence

Sin Always Has Consequences

Exodus 32:
Exodus 32:25–28 ESV
25 And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him. 27 And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’ ” 28 And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell.
Exodus 32:
Exodus 32:33–35 ESV
33 But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. 34 But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.” 35 Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.
1 Corinthians 10:1–10 ESV
1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
1 cor. 10:

The Mosaic Covenant was Insufficient from the Start

A Holy God Provides a Mediator Between Himself and Sinful Man

Exodus 32:15–20 ESV
15 Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. 16 The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. 17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” 18 But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear.” 19 And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses’ anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. 20 He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it.
Throughout Israel’s history, God made different covenants or agreements with the people, and they were all purposefully insufficient.

The Noahic Covenant

Genesis 9:8–15 ESV
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

The Abrahamic Covenant

Genesis 15:18–20 ESV
18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, 19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, 20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,

The Mosaic Covenant

Deuteronomy 11:8–9 ESV
8 “You shall therefore keep the whole commandment that I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and take possession of the land that you are going over to possess, 9 and that you may live long in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them and to their offspring, a land flowing with milk and honey.

The Davidic Covenant

2 Samuel 7:8–16 ESV
8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”
These covenants were never designed to be a lasting solution to the massive separation God had from his creation.
God purposefully makes these insufficient covenants with mankind to show the insufficiency of mankind.
The issue is not God, it is man.
We can’t get to God on our own because we are woefully unable to obey Him on our own
That is why we needed a New Covenant; and that is why God gave us a New Covenant

The New Covenant

Jeremiah 31:31–34 ESV
31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
Jer. 31:31-
Human beings cannot keep God’s law, so God said “I will put my law inside of you.”
“I will transform you.”
We could not come to God, so God came to us
But for there to be a New Covenant, Justice had to take place
God cannot just excuse sin or He ceases to be God.
Richard Dawkins and Ravi Zacharias
And if God pronounced justice and judgment upon us for our sin, it would mean destruction and damnation for us.
So, for this New Covenant to work, there had to be a Mediator.
There had to be someone between a Holy God and a sinful people.

A Holy God Provides a Mediator Between Himself and Sinful Man

Exodus 32:
Exodus 32:7–14 ESV
7 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ ” 9 And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. 10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.” 11 But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” 14 And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
Exodus 32:
Exodus 32:30–34 ESV
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.” 33 But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. 34 But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”
1 Timothy 2:5–6 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
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