Exodus 32:1-14 Why does your wrath burn hot against your people?

Exodus 32:1-14

1 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold,and cast an image of a calf; and they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.” 6 They rose early the next day, and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel. 7 The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; 8 they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ ” 9 The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. 10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.” 11 But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, “I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” 14 And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit in silent meditation 5 to 15 minutes, paying attention to the breath.
  • Imagine that you are at Mt. Sinai and Moses is delayed in returning.
  • What do you hear in the rumbling of the crowd?
  • Who takes charge?
  • What do you cry out?
  • As you wait impatiently, taking matters into your own hands, what altar do you build?  What god do you worship?
  • Imagine Moses returning.
  • What is happening now in the crowd?
  • You heard God’s disappointment and anger in the crowd.  What does God say?
  • Hear Moses speak for mercy on your behalf.
  • What does Moses say?
  • What promise do you hear?
  • Is there a message from God for you?
  • Do you feel a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have been given.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, October 9, 2011,  the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Exodus 32:1-13
Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author.
Permission to use in not-for-profit settings Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

One thought on “Exodus 32:1-14 Why does your wrath burn hot against your people?

  1. I got knocked off a mountaintop this morning. I started out on the mountain where Moses in next Sunday’s reading received the Ten Commandments, but I ended-up realizing I’d been down in the wilderness with those rebellious, idol worshiping Israelites all the time! When that light went on for me I felt suddenly snatched off the mountaintop and brought down to earth in a wilderness where the only way to live life fully is in response to God’s leading as we are given the ability to follow in faith.

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