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  The Great Bible Story #34
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The golden calf

Jacob Ninan
Moses came down from the mountain and explained everything to Aaron and his sons Nadab and Abihu, and seventy elders of Israel. He erected an altar for God and sacrificed some young bulls on it. After writing down all that God had instructed him he read it out to the people. When the people shouted and said that they would obey God in everything, he took half the blood and sprinkled it on the altar and the other half on the people as the seal of the covenant between God and them. Then God called him back to the top of the mountain to give him the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them. Moses was there with God for forty days.

When the people could not see Moses for so many days they became restless and questioned Aaron. They said that if Moses was not there to lead them, they would need a god to do that. Aaron gave in to their demand, asked them to give him the gold from their ear rings and made an idol out of it in the form of a calf. When it was ready he told them that this was the God who had brought them from Egypt, and they worshipped it.

As their frenzy built up they broke into singing and dancing without any shame. God told Moses that He had enough with this people, He would destroy them and start afresh with Moses. Moses fell down before God and pleaded with Him to turn His anger away from the people for the sake of the promise He had given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses also reminded Him about how other nations would say that He was not able to keep His promises. God agreed with Moses to hold His anger.

Moses now went down the mountain carrying the two stone tablets. His servant Joshua met him at the bottom wondering if the noise was that of battle. Moses told him that it sounded more like merry making.

When Moses came and saw the golden calf and the people dancing around it, his anger flared up against them. He threw down the tablets in disgust and scolded Aaron for turning the people's heart away from God so quickly. He took the idol, ground it into powder, scattered it over the water and made people drink it.

Moses called out to the people to come forward, whoever was on the side of God. It was only the sons of Levi who came out. God asked them to take their swords and kill everyone, even if they were their close relatives, who had participated in this idolatry. About three thousand people got killed that day. This was the discipline of the Lord which He gives to those He loves.


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