Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient” (Exodus 24:7).
It doesn’t take the people long to break their covenant promise to the Lord. The people throw aside Moses and implore Aaron to make them an idol.
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!” (Exodus 32:4)
They actually attributed God’s amazing work to rescue his beloved people from Egypt – to a gold statue. It turns my stomach.
But I think the focus in these chapters should be on Moses, and his intercession for the people. Moses is the mediator. He’s the mediator of the covenant and he’s the mouthpiece of God. Moses intercedes twice on behalf of the people in these chapters… First, he pleads for their lives and secondly, he reminds God of His covenant promise to be their God in order to convince Him to go with them to the promised land.
Moses doesn’t change God’s mind. God is molding Moses to have the same thoughts, the same ways, to be more like Himself. Think of the transformation from when Moses first encountered God in the burning bush – to now – when he is boldly pleading for the people. Moses was afraid to stand before Pharaoh, and now he’s able to reason with God. The change is remarkable. This is the work of God in Moses’ life. It is a work of grace.
You see… God made a promise.
I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God (Exodus 29:45-46).
He will not break this promise. His promise does not depend on the faithfulness of His people. It depends on the faithfulness of One. That One will not break covenant. That One will not sin. And that One will become the once and for all sacrifice and rise to sit at the right hand of the Father where he makes intercession for all the saints. Yes, Jesus, intercedes for you just as Moses interceded for the people. How much more will the Father listen to the perfect mediator?
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31-35; 38-39).
God’s anger burned against the Israelite people because He loved them. His anger matches the fierceness of His love. He is jealous for you!