While Moses was in the mount, meeting with the Lord, the Israelites did a most grievous thing.  Exodus 32:1-4 tells us, “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” 

The Lord declared that these people had “corrupted themselves” (verse 7), and He determined to “consume them” (verse 10).  After having done such a horrendous deed, how could Aaron and the Levites be forgiven?  God is a god who loves to forgive.  He longs for repentant men and women to come to Him.  No matter what we have done, no matter the depth of depravity we have sunk to, the Lord will ALWAYS forgive us and receive us when we come to him in repentance and faith. 

In verses 11-14, we see Moses interceding for the people and imploring the Lord to spare them.  Moses’ prayer for the Israelites proved effective and the Lord decided not to destroy them.  Moses’ work here is a type of the work of the Lord Jesus for us, who “made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12).

This intercessory work of Moses proved to be powerful.  Let’s listen to the words of Moses to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 9:18-20, “And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the LORD was wroth against you to destroy you. But the LORD HEARKENED UNTO ME at that time also. And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I PRAYED FOR AARON also the same time.” 

In verses 15-25, we see Moses confront Aaron, and we witness Aaron’s weak excuse for what he had done in making this calf.  Even though he had “fashioned it with a graving tool,” Aaron declared, “And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.” (Verse 24).  As the High Priest of the Israelites, Aaron had failed miserably.  You asked a very important question…why was not Aaron punished with the other people who had sinned so greatly…even though he was greatly instrumental in creating the calf the people were worshipping?

Let’s read verse 26, “Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.”  Moses called for the faithful ones, those who truly longed for the Lord, to leave the camp and stand with him.  Aaron and his sons (the sons of Levi) gathered outside the camp and stood with Moses.  Truly, this was a sign of true repentance from the Levites. 

What a great tragedy…3000 people died that day because of their unfaithfulness.  Aaron and his sons repented and gathered with the man of God, Moses.  What about you, dear reader?  Have you repented of your sins and put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?  No matter what you have done, the Lord will forgive and save you when you turn to Him in faith.  We have this gracious commandment from the Lord in Mark 1:15, “…repent ye, and believe the gospel.”  Have you repented?  Have you believed the Gospel message?  (CC)  (520.2)