Forming a People – Part 8

Exodus 32:1-35

Forming a People – Part 8

A People Who Fail

I. MOSES on the MOUNTAIN. (v.1-14)
A. A big CHANGE in a short TIME. (v.1-6; Ex. 24:18)
B. An UNSETTLING response by GOD. (v.7-10)
C. Moses ACTS as an INTERCESSOR. (v.11-14; Chap. 32-34)

After the giving of the 10 commandments, Moses goes up on the mountain to get further instruction from God. The people have seen the smoke, the fire, the lightning, and have heard both the thunder and the voice of God. Moses stays up there for a long time, and things start happening down in the camp.

1. Kid’s Question: When have you done something that you knew was wrong and then gotten in trouble for it?
2. As you read verses 1-14, what strikes you from the passage? What thoughts or questions does this passage raise for you?

II. When Moses COMES back DOWN. (v.15-35)
A. The COVENANT was BROKEN. (v.15-20)
B. TRYING to hide the TRUTH. (v.21-24)
C. A CALL to RETURN. (v.25-26)

Moses comes back into the situation with a bold passion for God and what God is doing for the people. He begins to confront the issues right away, making a clear demonstration of how far the people have gone from what God intends for them. It’s a difficult section, but one that we need to hear and to heed.

3. When has someone that you loved, someone that you have sacrificed for, disappointed you? How did you react?
4. What are the differences you see in the reactions of Moses and Aaron in this passage? Which one can you identify with most?
5. How do v.27-35 impact you? What questions do you have about them? What might God be saying to you through them?

III. APPLICATIONS from a DIFFICULT story. (v.1-35)
A. Who are WE and who are we FOLLOWING? (v.1,7,11; 1 Pet. 2:9)
B. God will not FIT into our MOLD. (v.2-6; Mk. 8:33)
C. Learning to APPRECIATE the DISCOMFORT. (v.7-9,21-24,27-35; Hos. 2:14; Heb 10:25-29)
D. God SHAPES us as we LOVE others. (v.11-14; Jn. 13:34; Rom. 5:8)
E. The drastic REALITY of REJECTING God. (v.27-35; Gal. 6:7-9)

This story has some beautiful aspects, but also some things that we struggle with in our own minds. How do we make peace with this…or do we make peace with it? Maybe the unsettling nature of the text is just what we need to shake us up a bit and force us to listen in a different way.

6. How do you define your own identity as a Christian? Does your life reflect that? If not, what insight does that give you into your own sense of who you are and who God is?
7. How has God shaped you as you have sought to love others? Who has loved you sacrificially and how has that impacted your own life?
8. Of the 5 application points, which ones do you think God is emphasizing to you at this point in your life? Why? How will you respond?