February 3

Matthew 22:23-46


The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection. They only accepted the first five books of the Bible, and did not find Scriptural support for an afterlife. God refers to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Exodus, supporting life after death. The Sadducees questioned Jesus about marriage and the afterlife, thinking it didn’t make sense because you can’t be married to more than one person, so if there were multiple husbands on earth, how could you have them all at once in heaven? Jesus said, 1) You don’t know the Scriptures, and 2) You don’t know the power of God. We won’t be married or getting married heaven. We will be like the angels, who do not procreate. 


When the Pharisees heard that the Sadducees lost their debate with Jesus, so they set out to test Him. Then Jesus, the Messiah, looks into the faces of these religious Jews, and asks them, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They answered, “The Son of David,” understanding the Messiah would come through David’s bloodline. Jesus quotes the Scriptures, and asks, “If He is David’s Son, then why would He call Him, ‘Lord?’” They couldn’t answer Him, so they stopped trying to test Him. They would result in trying to kill Him instead. 


Exodus 32-33


God took the people out of Egypt, but now God has to get the Egypt of the people. In other words, their slave mentality was still in them. If they had been people of faith, they would have done things differently. 


  1. Instead of being impatient while waiting for Moses to return, they would have remained dependent upon the Lord and endured. 
  2. The Egyptians worshiped the bull. Instead of the Israelites putting effort into creating a calf, they would have put effort into worshipping the Lord. 
  3. Instead of doing their own thing, people of faith would have sought the direction of their leader as their leader followed after God. Show me a strong man or woman of faith and I will see a person who submits to the leader God has placed over him or her. 
  4. Instead of giving in to the people, Aaron, as a leader, would have stood strong as a representative of Moses. He was trying to please the people, giving them a god to worship and calling for his own feast. 
  5. Instead of being deceived and feasting, the people would be diligent to stay in prayer until hearing from the Lord. 


In verse 8, the Lord said to Moses about the people, “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded. Notice:

  • They turned
  • Aside
  • Quickly
  • From God’s way


They were self-sufficient, not God sufficient. To be reliant on the Lord would mean staying submitted to His ways, which they did not. However, before we become too judgmental of the recently released slaves, let’s consider our own lives. Have we ever gotten impatient, questioning God when there was ever a delay? Have we ever decided to go a different direction that what a parent, pastor, teacher, or other authority as instructed? Have we ever trusted in ourselves when we wanted something to happen, leaning on our strength, our resources, our abilities? I don’t know about you; but I know about me, and I admit I have fallen short of knowing God’s glory. I have turned aside quickly from God’s way, especially when I was young. I, for one, am thankful for God’s mercy and forgiveness, giving me the opportunity to repent and return back to the Lord. 


In verse 9, God calls the people “stiff-necked.” When a neck is stiff, the body doesn’t give to the right or the left. It is a term used to describe a stubborn people, resisting change. God was on Israel’s side. He rescued them. He performed miracles for them. He expressed His great love for them. Yet, their terrorized past, being dominated by Egypt, was so ingrained into their soul, they were inflexible to yielding to the authority of the Lord. This illustrates the effect of sin, the authoritarian that beat us down into subjection, making us slaves to its power. When we are rescued by God through salvation, God knows He has His work cut out for Himself. When God came to save us, He knew what He was getting into. He knew we were sinners. He knew sin was a taskmaster. He knew we were slaves. God knew we would need His salvation and His saving, a transformation. Since we know God loved us enough to send His sin to die for us, then we can have the assurance that God loves us enough to never leave us or forsake us. He loves us enough to forgive us over and over again. He delights in mercy. His loving kindness is new every morning. 


Still, God is furious with the people. They refuse His working time after time. God was ready to start His bloodline all over again with Moses. However, Moses interceded on behalf of the Israelites. He reminded God of His salvation. He reminded God of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 


Intercession is powerful. God heard Moses, and He relented from the harm He said He would do to His people. 


Then Moses starts to make his way down the mountain, and he meets Joshua, a man who served Moses faithfully, even from the beginning. Joshua wanted to be near Moses and the Lord, staying at a respectable distance, waiting. Joshua was a man of faith early on. 


Joshua heard the loud noises being made by the people, thinking it was the sound of war. However, the sound was singing. Moses came closer to the people and saw the golden idol and the dancing. Moses became angry, as many would, and broke the tablets, perhaps thinking they were not deserved by such sinning people. Moses took the calf, burned it, ground it into powder, scattered it on the water, and made the people drink it. 


Moses also spoke to his older brother, Aaron, holding him accountable for bringing sin on the people. Leaders have a great responsibility. Aaron blamed the people. Moses saw the people were unrestrained, doing whatever they liked, because Aaron had failed to restrain them. They had shamed themselves before their enemies. Moses commanded the Levites to bring judgment on the sinful people, killing three thousand men. 


In verse 32, Moses intercedes for the people again. The Lord punished the people, plaguing them with sickness. 


Moses meets with the Lord in chapter 33. All of Israel watched Moses entered the tabernacle and saw the cloud descending upon it. They worshipped, and they had a respect for Moses’ leadership. God spoke with Moses as a man would speak with a friend. 


Again, we see Joshua, staying near to Moses. 


In verses 12-23, Moses is spending time with God. If you are a spiritual leader, you will find that times in God’s presence are not just for you. In God’s presence, God will speak to you about the people, and you will speak to God. It is a precious thing. 


In verse 14, God says to Moses, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. The Hebrew word for “give rest” is nu’ach, meaning, “to rest, settle down, to be soothed, or quieted; to be secure; to be still; to dwell peacefully. This word was used to describe God coming down to rest on people, like God resting on the Messiah (Isaiah 11:2) and on the 70 elders of Israel (Numbers 11:25). 


Now remember, the people had just committed a “great” sin (32:30). Moses speaks to the Lord saying, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” Moses was asking the Lord to stay with Israel. He had every right not to stay with Israel, because Israel turned away from their verbal covenant promise in chapter 24. 


Now Moses asks to see God in His glory. God says He will allow His goodness to pass before Moses, but Moses could not see God’s face. The brilliance and holiness that shone from God’s face is something no person in their fallen state could see and live. God hides Moses in a rock, hides Him in the cleft of the rock, and allows Moses to see Him from the back. 


God has an unapproachable light that we will only see when we are in our glorified state (1 Timothy 6:16). Let’s remember the glorious God that we serve, thank Him for removing the penalty of sin through Christ, and live for Him from a willing surrender, not obligation or out of a condemning fear. Glory to God!


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