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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost
Series C

"A Day in the Lord's Court"
Exodus 32:7-14
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

  I. The indictment--vv7-10; Gen 6:11-12; Deut 32:5-6; Jdg 2:19; Hos 9:9

 II. The defense--vv11-12; Num 14:13-16; Ps 74:18-20, 78:38, 79:9-10

III. The outcome--v14; Gen 12:3, 15:5-6; Deut 7:8, 9:27; Ezek 33:11; Heb 6:13

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1: Pentateuch

Exodus 32:11-13: "And Moses besought the Lord his God"--to stroke the face of Jehovah, for the purpose of appeasing His anger, i.e., to entreat His mercy, either by means of sacrifices (1 Sam 13:12) or by intercession. He pleaded His acts towards Israel (v11), His honor in the sight of the Egyptians (v12), and the promises He had made to the patriarchs (v13), and prayed that for His own sake, and the sake of His honour among the heathen, He would show mercy instead of justice.

Barnes Notes on the Old Testament:

Verse 14: This states a fact which was not revealed to Moses until after his second intercession when he had come down from the mountain and witnessed the sin of the people (Exo 32:30-34). He was then assured that the Lord’s love to His ancient people would prevail. God is said, in the language of Scripture, to "repent," when His forgiving love is seen by man to blot out the letter of His judgments against sin (2 Sam 24:16; Joel 2:13; Jonah 3:10, etc); or when the sin of man seems to human sight to have disappointed the purposes of grace (Gen 6:6; 1 Sam 15:35, etc.). The awakened conscience is said to "repent," when, having felt its sin, it feels also the divine forgiveness: it is at this crisis that God, according to the language of Scripture, repents toward the sinner. Thus, the repentance of God made known in and through the One true Mediator reciprocates the repentance of the returning sinner, and reveals to him atonement.

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Children's Message: Exodus 32:7-14

Visual aid: a telephone

"Hello, Dad? I need your help! I’m at Jefferson; I’m at the jail. They said I did something wrong, but I didn’t do it! Can you help me, Dad?"

A phone call just like that is made in every county in America every day. Fathers and mothers get down to the county jail as quickly as they can to help their son or daughter who is in some trouble.

In the Bible story for today, it’s not just one or two young folks that are in trouble; the whole nation is in trouble. They have sinned so badly and so much against God that he wanted to kill them all and start over. And there would have been no one whom they could have called for help.

But there was one man who did help them. His name was Moses. Moses didn’t argue that the people didn’t deserve it; they did. He was like the lawyer that moms and dads call when one of their children is in trouble. Lawyers are supposed to know what to do to help get someone out of trouble, and Moses did. You know what he said? He said, "You can’t do that, Lord!" What will the Egyptians think? Here you went to all the trouble of getting them out of slavery and now you want to kill them? What would they say about that? Besides, you made a promise, and you can’t break your promise."

The promise is what was called a COVENANT. God’s people had broken the COVENANT more times than you could count. But God never had. So the Lord didn’t do it; he let them live.

Near the close of his life, Moses told God's people that someone like him was coming who would do for the them what he had done for them. That someone was Jesus. He did that and more. When you and I sin, we need to call him for help. That’s because he died for all of our sins on the cross. He was punished in our place for our sins. That’s why God the Father can’t even SEE our sins anymore. That’s why you and I are headed for eternal life, not the other place, which is much worse than any jail ever could be, though it is called a PRISON.

Thank God that you and I have Jesus to help us when we get into trouble for breaking the Law. Thank God that he is our Savior.

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Kelly Bedard is vacationing from the pulpit this week as his congregation observes Consecration Sunday and is hosting a guest preacher.
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