Exodus Devotional | Fall and Forgiveness, Day 3: The Blame Game
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
Fall and Forgiveness, Day 3
“And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods 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.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf." - (Exodus 32:21-24)
What a heavy week of devotionals, right? Sorry--that’s where we are in Exodus!
God has told Moses to leave the mountain and see to his people. What does Moses find when he reaches the camp? Wandering goats wearing clothes, empty beer bottles, the pool table’s felt is ripped up, Charlie Sheen is passed out under a dirty bed sheet, and Aaron’s stumbling around with a lampshade on his head. There, in the center of the camp is a golden calf with Mardi Gras beads hung around its neck.
I’ve skipped over a section of scripture, by the way. We’ll get to it tomorrow and the next day. What you need to know now is that God already knew what the Israelites were doing--and he was livid. Infuriated enough to tell Moses he wanted to kill them all and just start over with him, like an Abraham 2.0, new father of God’s people. Moses pleads for mercy and God grants it. Now, after suing for forgiveness, Moses gets back home and questions his brother.
“Bro...what did you guys do?”
“Bro...it’s these people. They pressured me, man. Don’t be so mad. It’s not my fault! They wanted a little god--you and God were doing...whatever it is you guys do up there...so, I took their gold, tossed it in a campfire and <poof!>, there’s this golden baby cow! Whaddya want me to say?”
Just like the human condition is to sin against God, forgetting about his faithfulness and love, it’s also in the human condition to lay the blame on others for our sin. Again, it’s in the DNA. This goes all the way to Adam and Eve, our human first father and first mother. When God comes to them to ask about the forbidden fruit, Adam blames his sin on “this woman you made for me.” Eve blames it on the snake. Buck-passing is one of the human race’s oldest pastimes. Just like we saw in yesterday’s devotional, Aaron’s sinfully deceptive version of events is shamefully foolish. Stupid, even. Golden baby cow popping out of a fire...sigh.
Listen, people are going to sin against you. Pressure you. Harm you. But it’s our responsibility as to how we’ll respond. My middle daughter might be a brat to her baby brother, but no one made him hit her with a hockey stick (true story). There are all sorts of external factors and contributors to the sin you’ve committed--but the burden of responsibility always has to land on you, as to what you say and do. Piling your sin on top of someone else’s sin against you is never godly, nor helpful.
What’s something you’ve tried to blame others for, when you have yet to own the part you play? Of course that person or group was definitely wrong to do that or say that or treat you that way. But when God comes to ask you about you, will you confess and tell the truth about yourself?
God promises forgiveness and grace to those who confess their sins--but what will we find if we pretend and throw our hands in the air, claiming helplessness and laying the blame for ourselves at others’ feet?