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When Moses Discovers Your Golden Calf

Good evening and welcome, tonight we are going to be talking about some areas of leadership that will help you gain perspective about what it means to lead.

All of us are leaders in one regard or another.

It is my goal to help you understand your leadership role in the Body of Christ.

The Bible is meant to not only be our source of inspiration but our go to guide for things to do and not do.

God is a very detail-oriented God.

You should know that he leaves the bad things in the Bible for you to learn from just as much as the good things.

There are going to be times in your Bible learning that you need to focus on the bad things that people have done so that you don’t do them.

In tonight’s message you are going to get a good mixture of both, but I want you to put yourself into these scenarios that God plays out because these are things that you will encounter in your relationship with God.

Exodus 24: 6 – 18; On the Mountain with God

6 And Moses took half the blood and put it in basins, and half the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.”

9 Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. 11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.”

13 So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.” 15 Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain.

16 Now the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

So, as we look at the relationship Moses had with God enabled those around about him to enjoy the benefits that Moses had.

It's interesting to see in this passage in Exodus that Moses, Joshua, Aaron, Hur, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 elders on two occasions saw God.

Not only did they see God, but they ate and drank while he was around.

You must recognize that we are in relationship with a Moses and from time to time God will call Moses to the mountain.

We must not interfere with the calling to the mountain, we must encourage this journey to the mountain.

There are going to be times in your relationships in the future where you are going to be the Moses to other people.

You need to realize that you need to get to the mountain when God calls you.

Moses’ relationship with God was special and it enabled him to receive many things from God.

At this time God has many Moses’ up on the mountain tops with Him.

God is giving them revelation to bring back to the people.

So, the question that has to be asked is what is the condition of your heart when your Moses goes to the mountain?

Is your heart steadfast on God or is it concerned with the things of this world?

Sometimes when Moses come’s back down from the mountain, they find golden calves in their camps.

Exodus 32: 1 – 10 (NKJV); The Gold Calf

32 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for 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 And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.

Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”

5 So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” 6 Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

7 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ ” 9 And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed 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. And I will make of you a great nation.”

So, we see her after the people made a commitment to God in Exodus 24 and it's time for Moses to go back to the mountain again to spend time with God and the people forget their commitment to God.

They completely abandoned what they said they were going to do to Moses, to Joshua, to the 70 elders.

And they decided amongst themselves that Moses wasn’t coming back and they decided with Aaron right there that they were gonna make this golden calf.

Ultimately who's responsible for this? Aaron!

Aaron is responsible for not keeping himself on the same level of holiness that Moses had.

Aaron should be following the same precepts and concepts that Moses followed.

But Aaron had junk in his heart and in many ways he was just as worldly as the people that he was leading.

Matthew 15: 1 - 20 (NKJV); Defilement Comes from Within

15 Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— 6 then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.

7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”

12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”

13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.”

16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”

As a leader you have to be strong so that you can lead the people that God has placed up under you.

You needs to realize that the sin nature of the people that you're called to serve is strong, sometimes the people's nature is strong, but if you are following the ways of the spirit their sin nature and individual nature will not overtake you.

What happened to Aaron was his sin nature was equal to or greater than the people he was serving.

Because he wasn't strong in his convictions he went along with the people when they decided to sin.

This is why it is so important to be living in holiness and purity and for you to be in agreement in every area with the Moses that God has placed you with.

This whole scenario could have turned out completely different had Aaron said, “No this is not what we're supposed to do.”

There is a lack of understanding from the Body of Christ when it concerns leadership.

It is perceived as a walk in the park or a casual walk down a garden path.

Leadership is a completely different reality.

When God places you in leadership, He teaches you about the nature of the people that you are called to serve.

7 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ ” Exodus 32: 7 – 9 (NKJV)

God tells you their good points and bad points.

Exodus 32: 11 – 16; (NKJV)

11 Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “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 speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to 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 descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” 14 So the Lord relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.

15 And Moses turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the Testimony were in his hand. The tablets were written on both sides; on the one side and on the other they were written. 16 Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God engraved on the tablets.

There is a commitment to serve the people that is made by a true leader.

Rarely do we see that same commitment returned from those who are under a particular leader.

You have all types of personalities and quirks and every one of them have to be managed with the right touch.

There will be times as a leader that those you are leading will not meet the mark.

That’s understandable and can be fixed but it will take more work from the leader.

Then there are those times when the people you are leading are intent on building themselves golden calves.

God put this account in Exodus 32 to show us the realities of leadership.

Good leaders are like Moses and Joshua.

Total commitment to God and to the people.

But the bad leaders like Aaron and Miriam can always be counted on to join in with the people in their sins.

Moses and Joshua were on the mountain with God.

Aaron was tasked with the responsibility of watching over the people while they were away.

Aaron was no dummy to the moving of the Spirit.

Exodus 7: 8 – 13 (NKJV); Aaron’s Miraculous Rod

8 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 9 “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Show a miracle for yourselves,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and cast it before Pharaoh, and let it become a serpent.’ ” 10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the Lord commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent.

11 But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12 For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. 13 And Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said.

Aaron was there when Moses performed all of the miracles in front of Pharaoh, he knew where Moses and Joshua were.

There was no reason for him to entertain the sin of the people.

The problem in this case is that Aaron had the same evil in his heart that the people had.

Some people think they can hide and cover up their evil, but it will come out.

Moses confronted Aaron upon his return and Aaron flat out lied.

He not only lied but distorted the real events of what happened but that did not stop Moses from cleansing the camp.

Let’s see what happened in Exodus 32.

Exodus 32: 19 – 24 (NKJV)

So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it. And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought so great a sin upon them?”

So Aaron said, “Do not let the anger of my lord become hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods that shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And I said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I cast it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

Moses was a true leader.

He immediately removed the calf. He not only removed it. He was thorough to the point of setting it on fire and grinding the calf into powder.

Moses wanted God to know that he was on His side.

Leadership is accountability.

Moses could have prayed and said, “Look what Aaron did? This is not my fault.”

No, Moses immediately sprang into action and got the sin out of the camp. He didn’t stop there.

Moses poured the gold dust into the water and made the people drink it.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary says this: “His mixing this powder with their drink signified to them that the curse they had thereby brought upon themselves would mingle itself with all their enjoyments, and embitter them; it would enter into their bowels like water, and like oil into their bones. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways; he shall drink as he brews. These were indeed waters of Marah.”

Moses sent a clear message to God and to the people that this golden calf was in no way comparable to God, this calf had no strength of its own save itself nor them, and because this calf couldn’t do anything the people should not be worshipping it.

Exodus 32: 25 – 35 (NKJV)

25 Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27 And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ ” 28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29 Then Moses said, [a]“Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.”

30 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin. So now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” 31 Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a god of gold! 32 Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.”

33 And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. 34 Now therefore, go, lead the people to the place of which I have spoken to you. Behold, My Angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit for punishment, I will visit punishment upon them for their sin.”

35 So the Lord plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.

True leaders do what is needed. It wasn’t over.

Moses asked whoever was on the Lord’s side for them to come and join him.

The Levites ran to him. Moses commanded them to take their swords and 3,000 people died by the Levites hands.

This is how serious the hour is for us.

Are you going to commit your whole heart or are you going to walk around with your evil inside?

God sees that evil and at an opportune time it will come out and expose you for who you are.

Body of Christ you must come to the understanding that we are at a crossroads where your inner evil is going to be exposed.

God is going to send your Moses into your life and kick down your golden calf.

Will you resist God and make excuses and die?

Or will you give it up now before your day of reckoning occurs?

It is only God’s grace that is keeping Him from sending His Levites after you.

It is time that the Body of Christ totally commits or be forever stuck in your evil.

You cannot serve two masters you will hate the one and love the other.

You must make your decision today because your Moses is coming to you.

In conclusion, the Word of God mandates that we obey our leaders.

Hebrews 13: 17, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

Body of Christ, let’s start a new move of obedience to God by becoming true followers, not looking to be served, but to serve others. Selah.

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