The book of Exodus chapter 32 is overall divided into five parts as follows:
- vs. 1 – 6 about golden calf
- vs. 7 – 14 about God’s wrath
- vs. 15 – 20 about the two tablets of stone being broken (signifying
- vs. 21 – 29 about the wrath of Moses toward Aaron and the people
of Israel (signifying sanctification)
- vs. 30 – 35 about the prayer of Moses over the people of Israel (signifying
the ministry of reconciliation)
Today we are starting learning the second part.
7 And the LORD said to Moses, "Go, get down! For your people whom
you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.
8 "They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them.
They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to
it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the
land of Egypt!’
9 And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and indeed it
is a stiff–necked people!
10 "Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them
and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation."
11 Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: "LORD, why does
Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land
of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
The Lord’s wrath burnt hot against the people of Israel because of these
- They had corrupted themselves (vs. 7 “And the LORD said to Moses,
"Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
have corrupted themselves”)
- They had turned aside out of the way of the Lord (vs. 8 “They have
turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made
themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said,
‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”)
- They had made themselves a stiff-necked / hard-heartened people (vs. 9
“9 And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and indeed
it is a stiff–necked people!”)
Now we will discuss the first reason, i.e. the people of Israel had corrupted
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with
12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had
corrupted their way on the earth.
Men have corrupted their way since in the days of Noah, continued in the days
of Israel until in the end of this age, in these three matters:
2 that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful;
and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
Marriage is corrupted by the following acts:
- the sons of God took wives of the daughters of men = Christians get
married with non-Christians. Why do they do this? It is said, “The
sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful”;
meaning they seek their mates by sight and heart desire. This corrupt
way will bring about divorce, marrying and giving in marriage.
Youth has to take heed to the time of friendship or engagement, lest it
is corrupt, as well as during the time of marriage.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should
abstain from sexual immorality;
4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification
5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God;
We must keep the holiness of marriage by the true teaching word / the
word disclosed its mystery.
3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken
The word which God has spoken is the word disclosed its mystery and the
verses can explain one another. This is called the true teaching word
or the word sharper than any two-edged sword. Only the teaching word is
able to keep the holiness of marriage from the beginning of marriage,
during the marriage is going on, until the marriage comes into the marriage
supper of the Lamb. For that reason, every church must have this word.
Or else, none of us (including pastors) can guarantee the holiness of
life and marriage.
- disobedience and dishonor toward parents
24 Whoever robs his father or his mother, And says, "It is no
transgression," The same is companion to a destroyer.
There are an inseparable connection between godliness and marriage, as both
are the greatest mysteries written in the Bible. You can read the mystery
of marriage in Ephesians 5 and the mystery of godliness in the second epistle
of Timothy, chapter 3. If a man corrupts his marriage, he will be also corrupt
in godliness, and vice versa.
5 So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a
proclamation and said, "Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD."
A feast to the Lord refers to godliness.
Here are the practices of being corrupt in godliness:
- to commit idolatry
= to serve and minister God with the purpose of seeking material things
= to insert and apply the worldly manners into the church service system
To give a clear picture of this, we take an example of Israel’s
abomination as they worshiped the golden calf. Why did they make a calf?
For while they were being afflicted in Egypt, they saw the Egyptians worshiped
a calf. They then remembered and made it of the gold. Egypt symbolizes
the world so they committed service according to the way of the world.
Our service and ministry now, whether in singing, playing musical instruments
and preaching in church should never use worldly manners, or else there
One day a young man told me to change the method of playing musical instruments
to attract more young people. I said that it was not necessary; if they
want to come, better they come because of the word of God, not because
of the music. We can see this clearly from baby Moses put into an ark
of bulrushes and laid in the reeds by the river’s bank. Moses represents
the Church and the river symbolizes the world. Now people see the things
of the river are good (for example, the method of singing, managing money,
and playing music instruments) and want to apply them into the church
ministry system. If they really do it, they were to draw the water of
the river and put it into the Moses’ ark. What will happen? It is
not a progress, for sure, but a regress – since the ark would sink
into the river.
- to cause the others to stumble
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things
indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.
Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food = Do not cause the
others to stumble in godliness.
We should not be easily offended and cause the others to stumble; just
let the big things be small and the small things be nothing.
- to become slothful/unfaithful in godliness
9 He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great
This will draw the wrath of God to come.
- Their own lives
Men have corrupted their own lives by these two desires:
7 Surely oppression destroys a wise man’s reason, And a bribe
debases the heart.
Why do people love to receive bribes? Because they are bound with money.
This is the evil desire debasing the heart. If the heart, which is the
center of our spiritual life, is debased, the whole life is corrupt.
- adultery (the unclean desire)
32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who
does so destroys his own soul.
These two desires are connected one another to destroy our lives, whereas
it is said that we are the temple of God and if anyone defiles the temple
of God, God will destroy him.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit
of God dwells in you?
17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the
temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
God bless us if we truly become the temple of the Spirit of God, which
is the Spirit of righteousness (meaning we have to walk in righteousness),
and which is the Spirit of holiness (meaning we have to walk in holiness).
As the result, God pleads us.
The corrupt men are like a vessel being broken in pieces until there is no
use at all. They live the rest of their life simply for the wrath of God.
14 And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter’s vessel,
Which is broken in pieces; He shall not spare. So there shall not be found
among its fragments A shard to take fire from the hearth, Or to take water
from the cistern."
Maybe your marriage and everything in your life are broken in pieces until
you cannot see anything anymore, but death. But, hear His words! God is still
here for you and loving you.
1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying:
2 "Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause
you to hear My words."
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something
at the wheel.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter;
so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says
the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you
in My hand, O house of Israel!
We should not give up even if we have been broken in pieces. God, the Potter,
still gives us a chance of restoration.
20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing
formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"
21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make
one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured
with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of
mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles,
The broken vessel is not let to be the vessel of wrath, but is made again to
be the vessel of mercy and glory.
How to restore the broken vessel?
As for God
- Jesus Christ was marred and corrupted to death to restore the corrupt men.
Previously, God took clay, created and blew it to become a man according to
His image but after the man was corrupted, it cannot be created anymore as
the first time. Nevertheless, God is wonderful, He gives His mercy through
Jesus’ death on the cross.
13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled
and be very high.
14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than
any man, And His form more than the sons of men;
If Jesus had not been destroyed on the cross, the broken vessel would have
not been restored again. Yet, Jesus had really been corrupted and destroyed
to restore the corrupt men in destruction until they sometime become as glorious
as He is. It is amazing!
- God is longsuffering, which means He always gives a chance.
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known,
endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
As the late Rev. Pong Dongalemba always said, this is a lesson for shepherds:
if we face a man walking out of the truth, we may not set him aside but give
him a chance to repent.
The longsuffering of God is that He does not come the second time yet and
we still breathe this life. It means we still have time to be made a new vessel.
As for us, we have to be in rest and quietness.
15 For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: "In returning
and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."
But you would not,
This is the way out for the broken vessel being restored, but many people would
not do it until they despair themselves.
being in rest = making introspection
When we are broken in pieces, we should look into ourselves and should not blame
the others. After finding a sin or a mistake, we have to confess it to God and
others, and never do it again (= repent = stop sinning and return to God). If
we do not repent, however, we will be broken more and more until we cannot be
restored anymore. As soon as we repent, the destruction is stopped and the fragments
are restored again.
being in quietness = controlling ourselves
Lest there be any emotion and ambition, for they will throw and break us again.
By quietness, we will be able to pray and worship God, believe in and surrender
See, God has made a way and the next is up to us. Only in rest and quietness,
we will see a miracle.
1 Peter 4:7
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful
in your prayers.
Do not be emotional, ambitious, desperate and disappointed, even to hope the
others! Just be serious and watchful, also believe and surrender to God! In
worship, we are reformed to be a new vessel for the glory of God in serving
the others. This is called renewal of life.
The broken vessel cannot be restored if it remains stiff. That’s why,
everyone who walks in the newness of life must become tender. An example of
the broken vessels was Mary Magdalene, who was possessed by seven demons. The
figure seven symbolizes perfection. It means she was shaken by seven demons
and had her perfect destruction. However, the Lord still could shape her into
a new vessel by His mercy and longsuffering, as if the Two Hands of the Potter
were holding on her.
2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities––Mary
called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons,
3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many
others who provided for Him from their substance.
Verse 2 shows a vessel broken in perfect pieces, while verse 3 shows ministry/
new vessel. Although we have broken in pieces, we are still given a chance to
serve God according to the talent He has given, just like Mary Magdalene. After
being despised as a harlot, she was made the vessel of mercy and glory to glorify
If we give ourselves to be formed into the vessel of the mercy and glory of
God, we will get the following results:
- Our lives, rights, and rewards are reserved in the merciful Hands
3 "And He said to me, ‘You are My servant, O Israel, In whom
I will be glorified.
4 Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for
nothing and in vain; Yet surely my just reward is with the LORD, And my work
with my God.’
The broken vessel is renewed for the glory of God.
Thus, every minister we do should be done to glorify the name of God. Provided
we can do this, God will keep our lives, rights, and rewards in His merciful
hands. We may get a big salary, but it is not enough if we do not live in
the merciful Hand. We cannot determine the numbers of people with a high job
position but they still do corruption. This is to manifest that a big salary
is not enough. On the contrary, even though our salary is very small –
that people judge we would not live – we will still live by the merciful
hand of God, just like five loaves and two fish were enough for five thousand
In short, we should not see the little amount of money, but the great mercy
Mark 6:34, 38, 44
34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with
compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So
He began to teach them many things.
38 But He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see."
And when they found out they said, "Five, and two fish."
44 Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.
The merciful Hand had made five loaves and two fish enough for five thousand
men. We often forget this because we only see how much our money is and forget
how great the mercy of God is. We have to earn money to live, but we should
not forsake God just to get money, for we will lose the great mercy, which
is greater than our salary – no matter how big it is – and greater
than this world.
In prayers, I was made more understand about my teacher’s words, saying:
“A five thousand rupiahs that you receive from God is completely different
from the one you receive from the world.” What makes it different? The
great mercy of God does.
The mercy of God is not only to care us marvelously, but also to do miracles
that we may cope with anything.
14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved
with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
God will make a way; everything that seems to be impossible will be made possible
and every illness will be healed.
- We are made holy and blamess.
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that
we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
God keeps on working on us until we are transformed as glorious as He is.
When He comes back the second time, we will be the men of His glory, not His
Therefore, we should live in the Hand of the Potter by giving ourselves to
be the vessel of His glory and should not harden our hearts and grieve the Lord’s
heart. Be tender like Mary Magdalene, who even though having broken in pieces,
was made the vessel of glory. She walked in the mercy until she was glorified.
While we are talking to become tender, we remember a man who was hard in heart,
that is, Judas. Judas had been warned many times, but he still hardened his
heart even when he came at the last chance at the feast. Finally, Judas became
the vessel of wrath.
Lest we be like Judas! No matter how many fragments we have broken in, we should
remain in the Hand of the Potter. The rest and quietness are enough to bring
us to the Merciful Hand until we are renewed as glorious as He is – even
if the world says that we cannot live.
God bless you!