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Exodus 30-32

by Chuck Smith

And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of acacia wood shalt thou make it. It’s to be eighteen by eighteen, and forty-five inches high (30:1).

This is a little altar that was set in the holy place, before the veil that separated the holy place from the Holy of Holies.

Overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides round about, and the horns thereof; [So it’s a little altar only of gold, and it’s to burn incense, a sweet smelling savour again before God.] And the rings in it so that they can carry it with the golden staves that are through it. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning; when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lights the lamps in the evening, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations (30:3-8).

So along with the putting of the oil in the lampstands to keep them burning morning and evening, there was also the putting of the incense on this little altar. So in this Holy of Holies there was always this sweet smell of incense burning and the lamps that were burning. It was just unto the Lord, there perpetually.

And ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall you pour drink offerings thereon. [It was just a little incense altar, nothing else on it.] And Aaron shall make an atonement [or a covering] upon the horns of it once a year with the blood of the sin offering of the atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it [Yom Kippur actually, the day of atonement.] throughout your generations: it is the most holy unto the Lord. The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, When you take the census of the children of Israel after their number, then shall you give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when you’re numbering them; that there be no plague among them, when you number them. This they shall give, every one that passes among them that are numbered, a half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) and a half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord. And every one that passes among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than a half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, thou shalt make a covering for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement [or covering] money for the children of Israel, appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord, to make a covering for your souls (30:10-16).

So they did not actually take a census, as such; they were forbidden by God to number the people. But once a year, every man above twenty years old had to give a half shekel. So they’d count the half shekels and they’d know how many people there were, but no census because that was forbidden, but this was the way of taking the census actually. Every man gave a half of a shekel, which was to actually purchase the land from the offering, and to keep things, you know, functioning there. The rich were not to give more; the poor were not to give less. It was a half shekel for everybody. No favoritism because a person was rich, just everyone giving the same amount.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water in it (30:17-18).

So this big bathtub, a brass tub for the washing of the priests. And that was before the—as they’d come into the gate of this little enclosure, the first thing was this little brass tub to wash in. Then next a brass altar, and then the tabernacle itself where they would go in.

For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet: And when they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord (30:19-20):

So here again is an occupational hazard; if they forget to wash before they go in, they get wiped out. Now this could be what happened to Aaron’s sons. It could be that they just got excited when they saw the fire of God, and ran in there without washing and got wiped out. Or it could be that they had been drinking some wine and were under false stimulus, because later on after they died God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron that neither he, nor his sons should drink any strong drink when they offer the Lord, lest they die” (Leviticus 10:9). So a very hazardous job being a priest in those days.

So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever, Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, [Now this is the anointing oil and how they were to make it.] Thou shalt also take thee principal spices, myrrh five hundred shekels, sweet cinnamon, two hundred fifty shekels, and sweet calamus two hundred fifty shekels, Cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil an hin: [A hin is about six quarts, and a shekel is about sixty-five cents worth. So sixty-five cents worth of myrrh, or sixty-five times five hundred.] Thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compounded after the art of the apothecary: [the druggist] it shall be a holy anointing oil. And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation with it, and the ark of testimony, And the table and all the vessels, the candlesticks, and all the vessels, the altar of incense, The altar of burnt offering with vessels, and the laver and his foot. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: and whatsoever touches them shall be holy. And thou shall anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be a holy anointing oil unto me throughout all your generations. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall you make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever will compound anything like it, or whosoever puts any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people (30:21-33).

Now as I was first reading through the Bible and I was reading of this oil and all, I thought, “Oh, that would be interesting to go ahead and put together these spices and make some of this oil,” until I got down to the verse thirty-two and then I decided not to do it.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, [I’m not going to even try their names.] and make a perfume after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put it in before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: and it shall be unto you most holy. As for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord. [So a separate oil, a separate perfume only to be used for God.] Whosoever shall make anything like unto the smell of it, shall be cut off from his people (30:34-38).


Chapter 31

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass (31:1-4),

So now God has anointed Bezaleel and given him certain talents and abilities.

It is marvelous to see people who have just innate abilities and talents that have been given to them by God. It’s just in them, it’s in their—it’s encoded, I think, in their gene structures. There are some people who just have natural music ability. I don’t care how hard you study music; you can never achieve what they have achieved just through natural, innate ability. There are people who are natural linguists. Languages just come naturally to them.

One of the translators of King James—and I’m going to bring you some lessons on the King James translations one of these days and show you why I am opposed to anything other than the King James translation, why I believe that it was inspired of God, like no other translation has been since. There is an endeavor to put down the scholarship of the King James translation. But I’m going to show you some interesting facts of history of what really happened to translations. And I’m going to show you the error of the reasoning of Westcott and Hort, who created the text from which all modern translations are taken, basing what they said, “the most ancient manuscripts would be the more correct manuscripts”. I’m going to show you the fallacy of their reasoning.

A conspiracy of Satan to rob us from the true Word of God. I’ll be showing you the errors of a lot of these modern translations because they were taken from Westcott and Hort. “You know, the King James is so hard to read.” Listen, there’s nothing like it. Now they are coming out with a new King James, the New Testament is now out. They’ve gone back to Textus Receptus. This is one of the best things that has happened in translation, because I believe that the Textus Receptus is closer to the original text than anything else.

I think that the Westcott and Hort text is a gigantic perversion of Satan to rob from the deity of Jesus Christ, because of the Aryan influence in the early church and of the fifty copies that were made in Alexandria, in which they deliberately perverted and changed the Scriptures that had to do with the deity of Jesus Christ, from which came the codaksanatic(sp), as the codakphanatic(sp) added, and also the Vulgate, for Jerome used it in his translation.

I’ll show you where the true translations came from, the church of Antioch, which was interested in keeping the purity of the Scriptures. Quite a bit there to learn and to know. Don’t let anybody put down your King James. There are some eleven hundred and twenty-eight changes in the revised standards that are horrible. They are doing away with the deity of Christ. I do not respect or admire the so-called scholarship of Westcott and Hort. I think they were a couple of big plants.

They put down the scholarship of King James. And this is where I started; one of the translators of King James could read and write Hebrew when he was five-years old; a natural linguist, could converse in forty-five different languages. Some people are just born with that ability. Some people are born with mathematics ability. Some people are born with electronic abilities. Some people are born with artistic abilities. There are certain innate abilities that men have.

Now these innate abilities actually come as a gift from God. What you do with them is up to you. But it’s tragic when a person takes an ability given to them by God, and prostitutes it for his own profit or gain. Whatever God has given to us, He has given to us to use for His glory.

Languages were the hardest thing in the world for me. I struggled with languages. It didn’t come easy at all. And yet some people just have no problem with language, and the study of foreign languages comes so easy for them. It’s just an inward gift; it’s just something that is there. I’ve been looking for what God has gifted me with for a long time. One of these days I hope to find it. But I’m just Mister Plain Normal. But I love to see people who have been gifted of God. I love to see an artist, really gifted artist, as they’re drawing or as they’re working. To me it’s just fascinating. I love to watch a gifted carpenter. People who have just been given that innate ability to do things.

Now God said, “I put my Spirit on Bezaleel for skillful, cunning work.” This fellow who was just anointed of God to be the superintendent, and to oversee to make sure it was all done right. That to me is glorious that God has so gifted people in various areas. Now that’s where the body is neat, because as we are here in the body, we have every kind of gift imaginable, here within the body. There’s really probably nothing that we can’t do collectively.

We announced the problem with the brakes on the truck at the camp. Fellow came up said, “Well, I drive a truck. I’ll take my toolbox”, and he went up and fixed the brakes. That’s neat. If I’d gone up there to look at the brakes, I wouldn’t know where to start looking. So it’s glorious that God has brought together collectively in all of us, probably the abilities and the talents for just about anything. The whole body concept is beautiful, because as we pool the resources together, oh, so much can be accomplished for God, by the pooling of our combined abilities and talents. That’s what God intends is that we each put our part in. The body is composed of many parts, and not all parts do the same thing. Your hands can’t do what your feet were designed to do. Your feet can’t do what your hands were designed to do, but each part is important to this functioning of the body.

So here we are the body of Christ, and God has you here for a plan and for a purpose. Your place within the body, to fill that place, and when the need arises in which God will give you those special talents and abilities, you can step in and say, “Well, hey I can do that. You know there’s nothing to that.” Oh, yes there is something to that if you don’t know anything about it, if you haven’t been talented by God in that area.

So the collective pooling of the resources are talents as we anoint, give them to God and let them be anointed as His. Because always, always your talent will find its greatest release when anointed by God’s Spirit and doing the work of God. Anything less will always be a little unsatisfactory. You won’t have a total sense of fulfillment until you’ve consecrated to God, let Him anoint it, and let Him use it and then, oh, then the glory that comes from consecrating my talent to God, and letting Him use it for His glory. It’s really great.

So Bezaleel, a man anointed to devise the cunning works, to work in gold, silver, brass. He’s just a natural at it.

And cutting of stones, carving the timber, and to work in all kinds of workmanship. [The guy’s just skilled with his hands.] And I’ve given with him Aholiab, from the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee; The tabernacle of the congregation, the ark of the testimony, the mercy seat, the furniture of the tabernacle, The table and all of these things (31:5-8),

God just gave these fellows abilities and wisdom.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths shall ye keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; and that you may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; it is holy unto you: everyone that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work on the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. [Capital punishment.] Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. And so he gave unto Moses, when he made an end of communing with him on mount Sinai, gave him the two tables of testimony, the tables of stone, written with the finger of God (31:12-18).

Now notice on the Sabbath day that it is a definite covenant between God and the nation of Israel, for their generations, “between Me and Israel forever”. The Sabbath was not a law made for the Gentile. And nowhere in the Scripture, except for a Gentile would move into Israel, would he to observe the Sabbath. But the Gentile church was never placed under the Sabbath law in the Scriptures. In the early church when there was an endeavor to put the Gentile church under the law, a counsel was called in Jerusalem in which it was determined that they should not try to put the Gentiles under the law, which Peter called, “the yoke of bondage, which neither we, nor our fathers were able to keep” (Acts 15:10). Why should we tie it on the necks of the Gentiles?

So when they wrote to them, the Gentile church of Antioch, concerning this relationship to the law of Moses, they said, “Keep yourself from fornication and from things that are strangled (Acts 15:20). And if you do this, you do well. God bless you. But nothing about the observance of the Sabbath day. Thus Paul the apostle said in Romans fourteen, “In one day, one man esteems one day above another, another man esteems every day alike, let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind.” In Colossians he said, “Therefore let no man judge you in respect to sabbath days, new moons, holy days, which were all a shadow of things to come, the real substance is of Christ”(Colossians 2:16).

Now what was the Jewish Sabbath signifying? That God wanted His people to rest in Him. But they never did rest in Him, even though they did nothing on the Sabbath day. Now Christ is the fulfillment of the Sabbath day, for Christ is our rest. We who are in Christ have entered into His rest, so we have a perpetual Sabbath. I have ceased from my own labors; I have entered into the finished work of Jesus Christ. And even as God is now resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ, as far as my salvation, I must rest where God is resting, and realize that there is no work that I can offer to God of my hands, that can save me.

The only thing that can possibly save me is Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice for my sins. And I rest in that sacrifice; that finished work of Jesus Christ. As far as my salvation is concerned, I’m resting that Christ is going to take care of it. Through His sacrifice of His blood upon the cross, I’m resting; and thus, I have entered into the true Sabbath, that which the Jews haven’t yet discovered, though they light their candles and say their prayers, and stay in bed on Saturday. How glorious it is to know the true rest of God, the true Sabbath of God, even Jesus Christ.


Chapter 32

Now when the people saw that Moses had delayed coming down from the mountain, they gathered to Aaron, and they said unto him, Get up, and make us gods, that shall go before us; for as for Moses, we don’t know what’s happened to him, he brought us out of the land of Egypt, but what’s become of him, we don’t know. [“He’s been gone now for almost forty days.”] And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received them at their hands, and fashioned with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf (32:1-4):

So he melted down the gold, and then he fashioned it with a graving tool, a little golden calf. Notice that carefully, because you’re going to find that Aaron’s a classic liar. He took this graving tool and carved out this little golden calf. Remember he’s the high priest, which might be a warning unto you, that not all who are in the ministry of the gospel are totally honest in all of their dealings. You might get some computerized letters that are filled with hypocrisy, deceit and lies. Ooh, I could get going again. 

So the people broke off their golden earrings, he took a graving tool; he carved out this little molten calf.

and he said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt (32:4).

Oh, how quickly these people forget. You know to me the constant, constant burden in my heart is the fact that there are some people that just migrate towards every stupid doctrine. Every wind of doctrine, every concept that’s going on, people just “ooh”, trailing on after it. I wish that the true doctrine, sound doctrine could spread as rapidly as false doctrines. But man, these false doctrines seem to have wings and they spread so rapidly.

The latest one being this prosperity cult. “God wants all of His children to be prosperous and healthy. If you’re not prosperous and healthy, there’s something wrong with your relationship with God.” God help us; what a cruel, corrupt doctrine. But oh, how it is spread. Sad. The people, so quickly—Paul wrote to the Galatians and he said, “Oh, foolish Galatians. Who has bewitched you that you should so soon turn away from the truth? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now going to be made perfect in the flesh? Foolish Galatians. You turned from the truth so quickly”(Galatians 3:1,3).

“Foolish Israelites, you turned from the truth so quickly. God is drawing you to Himself to worship the holy living true God, and now here you are with a little golden idol before you.” “This is your god that brought you out of Egypt”, and the people demanding “Make us a god that we might worship it.” This is the result.

And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and they rose up to play. And the Lord said to Moses, Get down; for thy people, which you brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves (32:5-7):

Notice the Lord isn’t even claiming them at this point. “Thy people, which you brought out of the land of Egypt corrupted themselves.”

And they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: and they have made them a molten calf, and are worshiping it, and have sacrificed unto it, and they have said, These are the gods, O Israel, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt. The Lord said unto Moses, I have seen the people, behold, they are stiffnecked: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, that I may consume them: and I will make thee a great nation. [“I’ll wipe them out and I’ll make a great nation out of you, Moses. We’ll start over again.”] And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why does your wrath wax hot against thy people, [“Not mine Lord, don’t put them on me.”] which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and a mighty hand? [Nobody wants to claim them at this point.] Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swearest by thine own self, and said unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of I will give to your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people (32:8-14).

Now, faced with a problem. For in Numbers 23:19 we read that, “God is not a man that He should repent”, or “God is not a man that He should lie, nor the Son of man that He should repent has He not spoken, shall He not do it?” What does it mean, “the Lord repented”? The obvious reading of the Scripture looks like God is angry, ready to destroy the children of Israel, and Moses uses some good logic and reasons with God to spare them. “Look if you wipe them out, the Egyptians are going to say, Look you just brought them out of the land to destroy them here. They’re going to speak evil against You. Why should they speak evil against You, God? Lord, now turn from Your fierce anger, don’t do this.” God is just angry, ready to wipe them out. Moses was the cool head, and he’s pulling God off.

Now remember Moses wrote this. But our problem, our problem is that we have to describe God’s actions in human terms. Therein lies the problem. The actions of an infinite God cannot adequately be described in human language. But we have to describe in human terms, the activities of God. So we use the word “God repented”, but in reality God does not and can—has no need to change or to repent, which it means “to change” or “to turn from”. But from the human standpoint, how can I describe the fact that the judgment of God is due these people, but the judgment of God doesn’t come upon these people. “So, God changed.” No, He didn’t change.

Again we see Moses standing there interceding, holding God off. But who put it in the heart of Moses to intercede? Who put it in the heart of Moses to pray? Who put a love for these people in the heart of Moses? It was God’s work in the life of Moses to begin with. The inspiration of Moses’ prayer came from God Himself. All true prayer begins with God. Thus, God was the inspiration behind the prayer.

Now God knows all things from the beginning. He knew that the children of Israel were going to mess things up. He knew they were going to be worshiping this calf. In fact, He knew it before they ever did it. God is speaking to Moses about their sin in need of judgment. Moses is now inspired of God to plead for their salvation. But it’s difficult to describe the activity; it’s impossible to describe the activities of God in human terms, but we have nothing else to describe them. Thus, we have to have human terms to describe what are apparent activities of God, but yet the human terms fall short and cannot adequately describe God’s actions here.

Let it be said if God had determined to destroy them, He would have destroyed them, and nothing Moses could’ve said could have changed Him. The fact that they weren’t destroyed only indicates that God had no intention to destroy them in the beginning. But Moses is having to describe the anger of God against these people and the deserving justice that was coming to them in the human terms, and yet the justice of God doesn’t fall upon them. Thus, I have to describe that also in human terms, and give some sort of an explanation why these people were able to survive this great sacrilege against God. I only have human terms to do it, but I’m dealing in those mysterious, divine inner councils of God of which I have no clear understanding at all. God said, “My ways are not your ways, My ways are beyond your finding out” (Isaiah 55:8). But yet I only have human terms to describe the activities of God, and thus I have to use terms that do not adequately describe what God has done, but only describes the effect of the actions in human terms.

“God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent.” But yet we read over and over in the New Testament—or the Old Testament where, “God repented”. But that’s only describing the activity of God with a human term, which is a poor term, to say the best, but yet we have nothing else. So there is the limitation always of seeking to describe the things of God with human language. It always falls short.

Paul the apostle, when he was in heaven, when he came back, he said, “It would be against the law”, it would be a crime, “if I tried to describe to you in human terms the things that I heard.” You just can’t do it; he didn’t even try. There’s no language that man understands or knows, no words have yet been formed or created, or devised that could adequately describe the glory, the beauty, the majesty of that heavenly realm. It’s just so far beyond anything we’ve ever experienced or known or seen, or whatever. That it’s just ridiculous to try to use human language, because anything you would say would be less than it really is. So far less, that it would be a crime to use human language to try to describe it.

Yet we must describe the activities of God, and we only have human vocabulary to do it; and thus, we have to use terms that we understand as human beings to describe the supposed actions of God. But in reality what God has purposed, He will fulfill. Had God purposed their extermination and wiping them out, He would’ve done it. God did use Moses’ intercession as the excuse not to do it, because God delights in mercy.

So Moses turned, and he went down from the mount, and with the two tables of testimony in his hands: the tables were written on both of their sides; And the tables were the work of God, the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables (32:15-16).

Oh, wouldn’t it be exciting to see those two tables that God actually inscribed with His finger, the commandments upon? Ooh, wouldn’t it be priceless to just look at those two tables of stone?

Now when Joshua [who was the servant of Moses, who was with Moses] heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, There must be a war in the camp. And Moses said, it’s not the voice of those that shout for mastery, neither the voice of those that are crying because they’re overcome: but I hear the noise of singing. And it came to pass, as soon as they came close to the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, he burned it in the fire, he ground it into powder, and he put the powder in water, and he made them drink the water. [“There, drink your god.”] And Moses said to Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them? And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: you know the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we don’t know what’s become of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever has any gold, let him break it off. So they gave it to me: and I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf (32:17-24).

“Hocus, pocus, dominocus.” Aaron, shame on you.

And when Moses saw that they were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked to their shame among their enemies:) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and he said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from the gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. [That is those who were leading in this blasphemous sacrilege.] And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow a blessing this day. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said to the people, You have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make a covering for your sin. And Moses returned to the Lord, and he said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold (32:25-31).

Now we see Moses in the position of an intercessor, offering intercessory prayer before God.

Intercessory prayer is that form of prayer that reaches out beyond me and my own needs, to bring a guilty world before God, that God might work in it. Prayer has three forms, basic forms, variations within each. The first is worship, praise, adoration, acknowledging God for who He is. It’s something that goes on constantly in my heart day by day; my awareness of God, my consciousness of God, my worship of God for His goodness, for His blessings, for His mercies, for His love. For all that He is to me, and all that He means to me, for the beauties of the world, for the beauties of His presence and grace in my life. That continual thanksgiving within my heart because God loves me.

But then prayer has a second form of petition, where I bring before God my needs, my requests. I need strength, I need guidance, I need help, I need wisdom, I need so many things, and I come before God that He might supply my needs. But then prayer moves into the realm of intercession, where I bring before God your needs. I bring before God the needs of the community. I bring before God the needs of this nation, the needs of the world; intercessory prayer. No prayer is really complete except it enter into the area of intercession. We really need real intercessors. If you want a book to really understand intercessory prayer, read Howell’s book, “The Intercessors”. Fantastic. Just a beautiful prayer—book on intercessory prayer, Reese Howell, “The Intercessors”.

I believe that one of the greatest needs today really is for people to really have the ministry, and exercise the ministry of intercessory prayer. More things are wrought through prayer than the world will ever know. The real power behind the scenes. How I thank God for the hundred and thirty men in the church who are engaged in the intercessory prayer all night long, each night of the week. God bless these men. What a power they are for good in this whole community, as they intercede in their ministry of intercessory prayer. No wonder God is working so marvelously because of the intercession that is going on, day and night continually.

Moses is in intercessory prayer. The first thing is the confession of the sins of the people. Confession of sin is so important, because without confession there can be no forgiveness. Unless you confess your sins to God, there’s no way God can forgive your sins. If you try to hide your sins, there’s no forgiveness. You try to cover your sins there’s no forgiveness. “Whoso seeks to cover his sin shall not prosper, but whoso shall confess his sin, the same shall be forgiven”(Proverbs 28:18).

 Many times we’re trying to cover our guilt, we’re trying to make ourselves look not quite so guilty. We’re trying to sort of gloss over the sins, the guilt in our lives that it doesn’t look as bad as it really is. As long as we’re seeking to do a snow job on God, we’re never going to get anywhere. It’s only when you’re honest and open with God, and you openly confess your sin and your guilt before God, that now you open the door for God to work. Now God can forgive, because you’ve been open and you’ve confessed your sins. If you confess your sins, He’s faithful and just to forgive you your sin, and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. But it’s not until there’s been that open confession of sin that God can work and do it. Be open with God; be honest with God, confessing.

Moses confessed the sin of the people, and then Moses said,

Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin— (32:32);

Notice that line, the dash with the semicolon. That dash with the semicolon indicates a passing of time. How much time, we don’t know, but an interim of time passed as Moses was waiting for God to answer. He waited and he waited, and there was no voice from heaven. There was no voice of grace or mercy. There was no voice declaring, “I will forgive, I will cleanse, I will pardon.” Moses waited, and it seemed like the silence was a refusal by God. “If Thou wilt forgive their sin”, no answer. Maybe God won’t forgive; maybe there’s a refusal.

So Moses goes on to say,

if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou has written (32:32).

Jesus speaks to the church of Sardis declaring, “He that overcomes, I will not blot his name out of the book of life”(Revelation 3:5). Moses is asking for his name to be blotted out of the book that God has written, the book of life, if God will not forgive the sins of the people. This certainly shows to us a depth of love that very few of us can really comprehend or understand. Where Moses, for the sake of the people, could wish himself blotted out if God won’t forgive them. “Then forget me”, where Moses is willing to take the place with the guilty people, and to stand with the guilty people.

But again where did this love come from? It wasn’t natural with Moses. When God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush and told him to go and lead these people out of Egypt, he had—he really wanted nothing to do with it, and nothing to do with them. He was satisfied where he was. They’d already given him a bad time, and he wanted nothing to do with it.

So he began to offer to God all kinds of excuses why he could not go and lead them out of Egypt. God answered every one of his excuses. “I can’t speak” “All right, Aaron can be your mouthpiece.” “They won’t believe me.” “All right, take the rod and I’ll work miracles with it.” After God answered every one of his excuses, Moses said, “God please send someone else, I don’t want to go.” Moses really didn’t have any desire to go and get involved. But God put it in his heart. And the compassion and the love that Moses had for these people was something that God had placed in his heart.

That is why it is sheer folly for us to try to generate compassion. It’s got to come from God; that kind of compassion you can’t generate. You can’t say, “Well, I’m just going to love everybody.” You’re going to find more hatred in your heart than you’ve ever known was there. The moment you start out from the door with the determination in your mind, “I’m going to love everybody today, just going to be a picture of love today. Gonna love everybody.” Man, I’ll tell you, you’ll not get three blocks from your house until somebody will swerve in front of you and cut you off, and you’ll be, “You come back here. Where’d you get your driver’s license?” Where’s the love, you know. This kind of compassion can only come from God, the work of God. So don’t exalt Moses, because it was God that gave him this great compassion.

Paul said much the same thing, “I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh”(Romans 9:3). Hard for me, I cannot, I cannot say that. I do not have that kind of compassion. I pray, “God, give me more compassion for the lost”. I have sort of an attitude, “Hey man, if you want to be stupid and go to hell, that’s your business”, because I know that I can’t turn you or save you, or do anything about it. I mean, if you’re determined, you know, what can I do? But I desire a greater compassion.

I think that that’s one of the needs of the church today is a greater compassion for the lost. We just couldn’t sit by complacently and see the terrible condition of the lost around us without being more moved, without being touched, without being burdened, without being driven to a greater witness unto them. “Oh God, give me a heart like Thine, a compassion for those that are lost.” The compassion of John Knox. Oh God, give me—stop when they’re all dying. Oh God, give me the United States, or I’ll die. A real burden for a lost soul.

We don’t have it; we don’t possess it. May God give it to us, a great burden for lost souls, that we too might become intercessors, because that is the secret behind all intercession is that great love and burden for the lost. That’s always the underlying factor of a great intercessor. It begins with a compassion, begins with a love; it’s expressed in intercession.

Now Moses’ request was a foolish request. “Blot my name out of your book of remembrance”. Moses, that’s foolish. That’s off the wall.

The Lord said unto Moses, [“Moses, that’s off the wall.”] Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book (32:33).

“Don’t ask me to blot your name out, that’s ridiculous. I’ll blot out the names of those who have sinned against me.”

There was a time when the Lord spoke to me somewhat the same way as He spoke to Moses. When my mother was dying, I went into her bedroom, and I sat there for a while looking at her as she was suffering, trying to understand in my heart, crying out to God. I looked at those neat hands, those beautiful hands, and I thought of all the pies, and the cookies, and the rolls, and all that those hands had baked for my pleasure. I thought of all the times that those hands had wiped my forehead when it was hot and sweaty with a fever. I thought of all of the ministry of those hands for me and my benefit, the clothes that were washed with those hands, and hung out, and brought in and folded, all of the beds that those hands had made for me. I just sat there weeping. Such a beautiful person. One of the dearest persons I’ve ever known. To see her suffering was more than I could take. To know that night and day she could not sleep because of the pain.

I went over to the foot of the bed, and I fell on my face before God. I said, “Lord I’m no hero, and I’m not demanding that You heal her. But she’s Yours, her life is Yours, she belongs to You. But God I can’t stand to see her suffer anymore. Though I’m not a hero, Oh Lord, would you please take her pain and put it on me for today, and I’ll be glad to bear the pain all day for her, so that she can have relief today. I’m not asking for it forever, but Lord for today, let me bear it for her so she can have one day’s relief.”

Jesus came to me and He stood right by my side, and He said, “Chuck, that’s off the wall.” He said, “I already bore her pain for her, there’s no need for you to do it.” I said, “Lord, forgive me for such an off-the-wall statement. I know You bore her pain. I thank You for bearing her pain for her.” In that very moment, my mother sort of sighed, and she said, “Oh, the pain is gone.” She never experienced a moment’s pain after that. For all of a sudden, I saw the greatness of God, and the power of Jesus Christ rather than the ugliness of the cancer. I realized what are a few malign cells against the mighty creative force and power of God in Jesus.

We are human and we are prone to sometimes make statements to God that are off the wall, as Moses. “Lord blot my name out.” Lord said, “Ah, come on, Moses. Whoever sins against me, those names I’m going to blot out.” Yet the expression behind it, surely the compassion that was there, the willingness of Moses has to be admired.

We can admire the work that God is able to do in changing a man from a cold, calloused position, “The children of Israel; I could care less. Let me alone, I’m happy and content here in the wilderness.” From that not wanting to get involved to such a compassion to say, “Lord, forgive their sins, and if not, then blot, I pray Thee, my name out of Your book.” I’ll tell you that kind of compassion is only can come from God, and a work of God. But I admire the work that God is able to do in each of our lives in transforming us, and changing us and taking us from a noncommittal kind of a “don’t care, let’s not get involved”, to just a complete involvement in the needs of the world around us, as we intercede and pray for God’s help for this sick people, and this sick nation.

Therefore now go, and lead the people into the place which I have spoken unto thee: behold, my Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. And the Lord plagued the people, because they had made the calf, which Aaron made (32:34-35).

The Lord said, “All right, now go and lead them, and I’m going to send my angel before you.” Now Moses is going to respond to this, and this will be our message next Sunday morning. Moses responds to God saying, “I’m going to send My Angel before you.” As he realizes and recognizes the necessity of the presence of God. So next Sunday you’ve already got a clue on the Sunday morning sermon as you’ll find Moses’ response to God saying, “I’m going to send my angel. Go ahead, get out there and lead them now, and I’ll send My Angel.” Moses responds to that.

So next week, the Lord willing, we’ll finish the book of Exodus. The latter part gets a little redundant, because then they go ahead and make the thing just like he said. So we’re going to be skipping a lot of that because it’ll just be redundant. We’ve already looked at the blueprints. So now they are just going to follow the blueprints that God has given, and we don’t need to follow them through the making of it as we get into the blueprints. So next week, finish the book of Exodus.

May the Lord bless you and give you wisdom and understanding, as you realize that Christ is now our tabernacle. He is the place where we meet God. You cannot meet God apart from Jesus Christ. The place of meeting, and now this is the place where God will meet you, even Jesus Christ.

Silver, the metal that was used in the sockets, is the metal of redemption in the Scriptures. Gold is the metal of heaven, deity. Brass is the metal of judgment. So as you get into these metals, you’ll see the place of the silver in redemption, the place of gold, the place of God’s presence, and the place of brass, the place of God’s judgment against sin. It all has beautiful symbolism. The colors also have their symbolisms, which we’ll get into more next week. Shall we stand? Now may the Lord be with you and guide and bless your life, and keep you in the love of Jesus Christ. May He increase your burden for the lost. May the anointing of God rest upon your life that you might hear His voice, that you might do His work, that you might walk in His path, in Jesus’ name.

Chuck Smith

Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in 1965, with just twenty-five people.