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January 31st - Jealous But Just

Jealous But Just

(Exodus 32-34)

The Adoration of the Golden Calf

By Nicholas Poussin


Have you ever had a mountaintop experience with God? Moses surely did, spending 40 days and night on Mount Sinai with the Lord (see Exodus 24:18). Moses had his head in the cloud, to be sure, and the cloud was the Presence of God Himself.

Suddenly, God ended their wonderful meeting, sending Moses back to confront the people. The Hebrews had talked Aaron into constructing a golden idol, shaped like a calf, from their precious jewelry. God was jealous of the people’s affection, and justly so, as they engaged in idolatry.

In anger, Moses tossed the Ten Commandments to the ground, smashing the stone tablets to bits. Soon, three thousand men had been slain by the swords of the Levites.

But Moses prayed for the people to be restored to the Lord. Moses became an intermediary between God and His people, asking the Lord for mercy on their behalf.

The prayer of Moses pierces my soul:

“Then Moses returned to the Lord and said,

‘Oh, these people have committed a great sin,

and have made for themselves a god of gold!

Yet now, if You will forgive their sin –

but if not, I pray,

blot me out of Your book

which You have written.’”

(Exodus 32:31-32, NKJV)

Moses was willing to offer his own salvation, in exchange for the people’s salvation. This servant-hearted leader asked the Lord to accept his life, in place of the lives of the people. Seeing his faith, the Lord chose mercy.

The Apostle Paul expressed a similar level of commitment toward those to whom he was ministering:

For I could wish that I myself were cursed

and cut off from Christ

for the sake of my brothers,

those of my own race, the people of Israel.”

(Romans 9:3-4a, NIV)

How earnestly do we pray for others to be delivered by God? What are their souls worth to us? What are we willing to sacrifice, so that others might know the Lord? Will we give our time, our talents and more towards that end?

What could be worth more than seeing others come to experience a personal relationship with our great God, the Lord of goodness, mercy and compassion? May we pray that many will know Him, and may He make us faithful in this very prayer.

“The Lord replied,

‘I will make all my goodness pass before you,

and I will call out my name, Yahweh, before you.

For I will show mercy to anyone I choose,

and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.’”

(Exodus 33:19, NLT)

Will you pray with me?

Righteous Lord,

You have said You are a jealous God,

As You deserve to be.

No one else deserves our allegiance,

Our loyalty or our love.

Show us the idols we have raised in our lives.

Grant us the strength to cast them out.

Give us the depth of devotion

To pray more consistently

And to invest ourselves more heartily

In Your ministry to the lost.

Teach us to care more deeply,

And create in us a craving

To see people come to know You

Now and forever.

We honor You.


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  1. Ouch. Dear Linda. Would you. Please. Get. Off my toes.

    I need to work on this. There have been some specific folks I need to pray for--instead of complaining about.

    Thanks for reminding me of this, friend.

  2. I'm stepping on my OWN toes here . . . or maybe, God is. ;-)

  3. Beautiful. I love this idea of earnest prayer. I think I will search my heart to see my motives in praying for those I love. Beautiful.

  4. I had a Sunday School Teacher years ago that every Sunday morning when we walked into the class room had the word "MOTIVE" on the caulk board.... I sat under her teaching for 3 years or so........... That word stuck in my mind to this day........... HE KNOWS OUR HEART! Watch our motives!

    AND,,,,,,,, I need to know how to leave a comment in a blog that will link........ I noticed that you are able to do that...... Would you mind telling me how.......... :)