When they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing, and he burned with anger. He threw the stone tablets to the ground, smashing them at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf they had made and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water, and forced the people to drink it. Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, “What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?” “Don’t get so upset, my lord,” Aaron replied. “You yourself know how evil these people are. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire—and out came this calf!” Exodus 32:19-24 (NLT)
This week we are creating an “UN-Shopping List” – things we should throw out of our life’s shopping basket. So far we’ve tossed “weak faith” and “stubbornness.
Today the text identifies another common hindrance to growing in Christ; an issue that must be tossed if you want to be Christ’s disciple - excuses.
Rafael Septien had the most classic of excuses. He was the field goal kicker for the Dallas Cowboys. It was 1985 in a game at Texas Stadium. He missed the kick badly. It was among the poorest attempts at offering an excuse by mankind...ever! His excuse? The grass was too long. Texas Stadium doesn't have grass, it has artificial turf.
Aaron didn't have a reason for making the golden calf idol, but he did have an excuse.
One of the things that keep us from being forgiven (either by God or our fellow humans) is thinking an excuse can take the place of confession. Very seldom will you hear someone say, "I was wrong." As a society we are so into offering excuses for our behavior - we call it syndromes, maladies, adjustment aberrations -- we call it anything but SIN!
The one thing you will note about the end of this chapter is that God eventually punished Israel with a plague, because they sinned and did not repent. By contrast, when King David sinned, it was his confession that saved him (see Psalm 51).
We sing the song, "Christ Receiveth Sinful Men." It should be noted by this that the sinful people Christ receives are those who are willing to admit it, and come to Him, filthy, undeserving, and admittedly lost -- not those who simply have had an "unfortunate time and circumstance" and need a blessing.
To believe in Jesus, and follow Him as a disciple means you accept the fact that you need Him, and can't be saved without Him. And then you confess that without excuse, and trust Him to receive you just like He said He would.
For You Today:
This year - No excuses! Get them out of your basket; Toss 'em.