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Chinese3/17/2005English
經文:出埃及記卅二章
鑰節:「倘或您肯赦免他們的罪……不然,求您從您所寫的冊上塗抹我的名。」(32:32)
提要

        摩西將以色列民留在山下,自己上西乃山已有卅九或四十天了。以色列民或許以為摩西死了,因為他們可能對上帝缺乏信心,不知祂能照顧摩西,供應摩西食物和水。當他們的中保摩西不在他們中間時,他們大概以為上帝也不在了;然而上帝看得見他們一切的行為(32:7),甚至看得透他們的心。為此,以色列人說服亞倫為他們造一個神像在他們前面引路,亞倫可能是怕違逆他們的心意;他承認以色列民「專於作惡」(32:22),亞倫若拒絕他們的請求,他們會向亞倫做出什麼事就不必說了。但無論如何,亞倫畢竟缺少骨氣堅決持守上帝的命令;他不像摩西那樣與上帝有相交的關係,他必須更堅強,抵擋試探,才能領導這個棘手的國家。

        牛犢是埃及主要的神祇之一,叫做亞筆斯(Apis),牠代表多產和力量。以色列人為牠守節,同時伴有淫蕩的舞蹈,及與這異教生殖之神有關的墮落行為。他們怎能在蒙上帝奇妙的救贖,聽見祂如雷的聲音,又答應要順服祂、與祂立約之後那麼短的時間內,就做出違反前兩條重要誡命的可怕行為?就像上帝對摩西說的,他們真是一群「硬著頸項的百姓」(32:9)──這個形容詞是描寫不願受駕馭的頑固公牛或馬。

        百姓違約的罪行激怒了上帝,上帝告訴摩西祂要將以色列人全部除滅,另立摩西和他的後裔為上帝的選民(32:10)。這對摩西的性格和他對百姓的愛真是一大考驗。而他的反應十分正確。摩西為以色列民代求,他顧念百姓的存亡勝於自己的榮譽,他並提醒上帝紀念對族長的應許;但摩西最關心的是上帝的名譽(32:12、25)。由於摩西迫切的祈求,上帝同意不將以色列人全部滅絕,但對那些不悔改的人仍須施以立即的教訓和懲罰。我們這個社會所犯的滔天大罪惹上帝發怒;要不是眾聖徒的祈禱和祂兒子的居間斡旋,上帝早就將罪人除滅了。上帝真是大有憐憫,祂不樂意見人死,而樂於赦免那些來到祂跟前的罪人。亞倫一定也悔改了,否則上帝也不會讓他作大祭司;但在這塈畯怓搢ㄔL企圖為自己找藉口而諉罪於以色列民(32:22~24)。不過摩西仍認為他該負責,因為他是代替摩西作領袖。

        親眼目睹百姓犯罪的景象使摩西受到更大的衝擊。在義怒中,他摔碎了石版,也代表這個約因百姓的心思和行為已經破裂了。摩西要百姓喝他焚燒金牛撒在水面上的粉末,希望他們從內心深處悔罪。百姓中仍有人心堶韏w不願悔改,因為只有利未人很快的表示羞愧和悔意,與摩西站在上帝這一邊(32:26)。那些不回應上帝恩召的人隨即遭到處分;有三千人死在刀下。

        今天,在可怕的審判大日來臨之前,上帝心懷憐憫等候人的悔改,接受祂在愛子耶穌堜狴萿熒s約。讓我們效法摩西(不要像亞倫隨波逐流),引領別人走義路。如果我們不這麼做,就要為他們的刑罰負責(結33:8)。作以色列人中保的摩西試著要以自己的性命為百姓贖罪,使上帝赦免並存留他們的性命(32:32)。不過,這並非上帝的計畫。只有耶穌基督能為別人的罪作完全有效的贖罪祭,上帝告訴摩西,犯罪之徒要自己受罰,而不是摩西受罰;上帝降災在以色列人中間以為懲罰。不過摩西的代禱使以色列國得以存留,並在上帝的保護下進入迦南。我們迫切的禱告確能使事情有所不同,所以,別灰心,繼續禱告!

禱告

        全能的上帝,幫助我們學習為別人代禱。謝謝您給我們一位大能的代禱勇士,主耶穌基督。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Exodus 32
Key Verse:“Yet now, if You will forgive their sin – but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.”( Exodus 32:32 )
Overview

         It had been thirty-nine or forty days since Moses had left the people below and ascended Mount Sinai. They probably thought he was dead, for they may have hacked faith that God was able to care for Moses and provide him with food and water. When Moses, their mediator was absent they might have believed that God was absent too, however God sat all their actions (32:7) and He even saw their hearts. For this reason, they pressured Aaron to make them a god to go before then n their journey. He was probably afraid to stand up against them. He admitted they were “set on evil” (32:22), so there was no telling what they might do if he refused them. Still he had no backbone to stay firm and uphold the Lord’s commands. Aaron did not have the communion with God which Moses had, and he had to be strong, withstand temptation, and lead in that difficult nation.

         The calf, or a young bull, was one of the main gods in Egypt; it was called Apis, which represented fertility and strength. The Israelites held a feast in its honor, accompanied by lewd dancing and immorality connected with the pagan fertility cult. How could this awful apostasy of breaking the first two important commandments come so soon after their miraculous deliverance, the thundering of God’s voice, and after they had all agreed to obey Him and enter into a covenant relationship with Him? As God told Moses, they were truly a “stiff-necked people” (32:9), the expression coming from a stubborn ox or horse that refuses to be turned by the reins.

         Because their wickedness in breaking the covenant provoked the wrath of God, He told Moses of His intention to wipe out all Israel and start fresh with just Moses and His descendants as His chosen people (32:10). This was a real test of Moses’ character and his love for his people. He responded in the right way. Preferring Israel’s preservation over his own honor, he interceded on their behalf, recalling god’s promise to the patriarchs, but Moses’ main concern was for the honor of God (32; 12. 25). Because of his desperate plea, the Lord agreed to not totally destroy the Israelites, but immediate discipline and punishment was still required for the unrepentant. The wickedness of our society provokes the wrath of God who would consume the sinners were it not for the prayers of the saints and the mediation of His Son. God is truly merciful; He does not take pleasure in seeing men die, but rather takes pleasure in forgiving those sinners who come unto Him. Surely Aaron repented, or else God would not have allowed him to become the high priest, but here we see him trying to make excuses and blame the people (32:22-24). Yet, Moses considered him responsible as he had been in charge during Moses’ absence.

         The actual sight of the people’s sin affected Moses more then hearing of it. With righteous indignation, he threw down and broke the stone tablets, representing the covenant which had already been broken by their hearts and deeds. He made the people internalize their sin by drinking water into which he had thrown the powder from the golden calf which he had burned. Still most remained unrepentant and stubborn, for only the tribe of Levi quickly expressed shame and repentance in going over to the side of the Lord with Moses (32:26). Punishment followed those who did not respond to the call of grace and mercy; three thousand men died by the sword.

         Today, God is mercifully waiting for people’s repentance and acceptance of His new covenant with His Son Jesus before the great and terrible judgment day. Let us be like Moses (not Aaron, who went along with the crowd) and lead others to walk in the way of righteousness. If we do not, we can be held responsible for their punishment (Ezekiel 33:8). Moses, as their mediator, tried to make atonement by offering himself to die for the people if it would cause God to forgive and restore them (32:32). This, however, was not God’s plan. Only Jesus Christ could make the all-sufficient atonement for the sins of others. God told Moses that the sinner alone would be punished, not he, and God accomplished this by sending a plague among them. Moses’ intercession, however, preserved the nation of Israel and their entrance into Canaan under God’s protection. Our fervent prayers do make a difference, so be encouraged and keep on praying!

Prayer

         Almighty God, help me to learn to intercede in prayer for others. Thank You for our mighty intercessor, the Lord Jesus Christ.


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