Exodus 32-34; Philippians 3
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The following text is from the Contemporary English Version. Occasionally we will rotate the translations just to have some variety.
After the people saw that Moses had been on the mountain for a long time, they went to Aaron and said, “Make us an image of a god who will lead and protect us. Moses brought us out of Egypt, but nobody knows what has happened to him.”
2 Aaron told them, “Bring me the gold earrings that your wives and sons and daughters are wearing.” 3 Everybody took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron, 4 then he melted them and made an idol in the shape of a young bull.
All the people said to one another, “This is the god who brought us out of Egypt!”
5 When Aaron saw what was happening, he built an altar in front of the idol and said, “Tomorrow we will celebrate in honor of the Lord.” 6 The people got up early the next morning and killed some animals to be used for sacrifices and others to be eaten. Then everyone ate and drank so much that they began to carry on like wild people.
7 The Lord said to Moses:
Hurry back down! Those people you led out of Egypt are acting like fools. 8 They have already stopped obeying me and have made themselves an idol in the shape of a young bull. They have bowed down to it, offered sacrifices, and said that it is the god who brought them out of Egypt. 9 Moses, I have seen how stubborn these people are, 10 and I’m angry enough to destroy them, so don’t try to stop me. But I will make your descendants into a great nation.
11 Moses tried to get the Lord God to change his mind:
Our Lord, you used your mighty power to bring these people out of Egypt. Now don’t become angry and destroy them. 12 If you do, the Egyptians will say that you brought your people out here into the mountains just to get rid of them. Please don’t be angry with your people. Don’t destroy them!
13 Remember the solemn promise you made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You promised that someday they would have as many descendants as there are stars in the sky and that you would give them land.
14 So even though the Lord had threatened to destroy the people, he changed his mind and let them live.
15-16 Moses went back down the mountain with the two flat stones on which God had written all of his laws with his own hand, and he had used both sides of the stones.
17 When Joshua heard the noisy shouts of the people, he said to Moses, “A battle must be going on down in the camp.”
18 But Moses replied, “It doesn’t sound like they are shouting because they have won or lost a battle. They are singing wildly!”
19 As Moses got closer to the camp, he saw the idol, and he also saw the people dancing around. This made him so angry that he threw down the stones and broke them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 He melted the idol the people had made, and he ground it into powder. He scattered it in their water and made them drink it. 21 Moses asked Aaron, “What did these people do to harm you? Why did you make them sin in this terrible way?”
22 Aaron answered:
Don’t be angry with me. You know as well as I do that they are determined to do evil. 23 They even told me, “That man Moses led us out of Egypt, but now we don’t know what has happened to him. Make us a god to lead us.” 24 Then I asked them to bring me their gold earrings. They took them off and gave them to me. I threw the gold into a fire, and out came this bull.
25 Moses knew that the people were out of control and that it was Aaron’s fault. And now they had made fools of themselves in front of their enemies. 26 So Moses stood at the gate of the camp and shouted, “Everyone who is on the Lord’s side come over here!”
Then the men of the Levi tribe gathered around Moses, 27 and he said to them, “The Lord God of Israel commands you to strap on your swords and go through the camp, killing your relatives, your friends, and your neighbors.”
28 The men of the Levi tribe followed his orders, and that day they killed about three thousand men. 29 Moses said to them, “You obeyed the Lord and did what was right, and so you will serve as his priests for the people of Israel. It was hard for you to kill your own sons and brothers, but the Lord has blessed you and made you his priests today.”
30 The next day Moses told the people, “This is a terrible thing you have done. But I will go back to the Lord to see if I can do something to keep this sin from being held against you.”
31 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “The people have committed a terrible sin. They have made a gold idol to be their god. 32 But I beg you to forgive them. If you don’t, please wipe my name out of your book.”[a]
33 The Lord replied, “I will wipe out of my book the name of everyone who has sinned against me. 34 Now take my people to the place I told you about, and my angel will lead you. But when the time comes, I will punish them for this sin.”
35 So the Lord punished the people of Israel with a terrible disease for talking Aaron into making the gold idol.
The Lord Tells Israel To Leave Mount Sinai
33 The Lord said to Moses:
You led the people of Israel out of Egypt. Now get ready to lead them to the land I promised their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 2-3 It is a land rich with milk and honey, and I will send an angel to force out those people who live there—the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. I would go with my people, but they are so rebellious that I would destroy them before they get there.
4-5 Even before the Lord said these harsh things, he had told Moses, “These people really are rebellious, and I would kill them at once, if I went with them. But tell them to take off their fancy jewelry, then I’ll decide what to do with them.” So the people started mourning, 6 and after leaving Mount Sinai,[b] they stopped wearing fancy jewelry.
The Lord Is with His People
7 Moses used to set up a tent far from camp. He called it the “meeting tent,” and whoever needed some message from the Lord would go there. 8 Each time Moses went out to the tent, everyone would stand at the entrance to their own tents and watch him enter. 9-11 Then they would bow down because a thick cloud would come down in front of the tent, and the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, just like a friend. Afterwards, Moses would return to camp, but his young assistant Joshua[c] would stay at the tent.
The Lord Promises To Be with His People
12 Moses said to the Lord, “I know that you have told me to lead these people to the land you promised them. But you have not told me who my assistant will be. You have said that you are my friend and that you are pleased with me. 13 If this is true, let me know what your plans are, then I can obey and continue to please you. And don’t forget that you have chosen this nation to be your own.”
14 The Lord said, “I will go with you and give you peace.”
15 Then Moses replied, “If you aren’t going with us, please don’t make us leave this place. 16 But if you do go with us, everyone will know that you are pleased with your people and with me. That way, we will be different from the rest of the people on earth.”
17 So the Lord told him, “I will do what you have asked, because I am your friend and I am pleased with you.”
18 Then Moses said, “I pray that you will let me see you in all of your glory.”
19 The Lord answered:
All right. I am the Lord, and I show mercy and kindness to anyone I choose. I will let you see my glory and hear my holy name, 20 but I won’t let you see my face, because anyone who sees my face will die. 21 There is a rock not far from me. Stand beside it, 22 and before I pass by in all of my shining glory, I will put you in a large crack in the rock. I will cover your eyes with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back. You will not see my face.
The Second Set of Commandments
34 One day the Lord said to Moses, “Cut two flat stones like the first ones I made, and I will write on them the same commandments that were on the two you broke. 2 Be ready tomorrow morning to come up Mount Sinai and meet me at the top. 3 No one is to come with you or to be on the mountain at all. Don’t even let the sheep and cattle graze at the foot of the mountain.” 4 So Moses cut two flat stones like the first ones, and early the next morning he carried them to the top of Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded.
5 The Lord God came down in a cloud and stood beside Moses there on the mountain. God spoke his holy name, “the Lord.”[d] 6 Then he passed in front of Moses and called out, “I am the Lord God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted. 7 I keep my promises to my people forever, but I also punish anyone who sins. When people sin, I punish them and their children, and also their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
8 Moses quickly bowed down to the ground and worshiped the Lord. 9 He prayed, “Lord, if you really are pleased with me, I pray that you will go with us. It is true that these people are sinful and rebellious, but forgive our sin and let us be your people.”
A Promise and Its Demands
10 The Lord said:
I promise to perform miracles for you that have never been seen anywhere on earth. Neighboring nations will stand in fear and know that I was the one who did these marvelous things. 11 I will force out the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, but you must do what I command you today. 12 Don’t make treaties with any of those people. If you do, it will be like falling into a trap. 13 Instead, you must destroy their altars and tear down the sacred poles[e] they use in the worship of the goddess Asherah. 14 I demand your complete loyalty—you must not worship any other god! 15 Don’t make treaties with the people there, or you will soon find yourselves worshiping their gods and taking part in their sacrificial meals. 16 Your men will even marry their women and be influenced to worship their gods.
17 Don’t make metal images of gods.
18 Don’t fail to observe the Festival of Thin Bread in the month of Abib.[f] Obey me and eat bread without yeast for seven days during Abib, because that is the month you left Egypt.
19 The first-born males of your families and of your flocks and herds belong to me.
20 You can save the life of a first-born donkey[g] by sacrificing a lamb; if you don’t, you must break the donkey’s neck. You must save every first-born son.
Bring an offering every time you come to worship.
21 Do your work in six days and rest on the seventh day, even during the seasons for plowing and harvesting. 22 Celebrate the Harvest Festival[h] each spring when you start harvesting your wheat, and celebrate the Festival of Shelters[i] each autumn when you pick your fruit.
23 Your men must come to worship me three times a year, because I am the Lord God of Israel. 24 I will force the nations out of your land and enlarge your borders. Then no one will try to take your property when you come to worship me these three times each year.
25 When you sacrifice an animal on the altar, don’t offer bread made with yeast. And don’t save any part of the Passover meal for the next day.
26 I am the Lord your God, and you must bring the first part of your harvest to the place of worship.
Don’t boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
27 The Lord told Moses to put these laws in writing, as part of his agreement with Israel. 28 Moses stayed on the mountain with the Lord for forty days and nights, without eating or drinking. And he wrote down the Ten Commandments, the most important part of God’s agreement with his people.
Moses Comes Down from Mount Sinai
29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai, carrying the Ten Commandments. His face was shining brightly because the Lord had been speaking to him. But Moses did not know at first that his face was shining. 30 When Aaron and the others looked at Moses, they saw that his face was shining, and they were afraid to go near him. 31 Moses called out for Aaron and the leaders to come to him, and he spoke with them. 32 Then the rest of the people of Israel gathered around Moses, and he gave them the laws that the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.
33 The face of Moses kept shining, and after he had spoken with the people, he covered his face with a veil. 34 Moses would always remove the veil when he went into the sacred tent to speak with the Lord. And when he came out, he would tell the people everything the Lord had told him to say. 35 They could see that his face was still shining. So after he had spoken with them, he would put the veil back on and leave it on until the next time he went to speak with the Lord.
Finally, my dear friends, be glad that you belong to the Lord. It doesn’t bother me to write the same things to you that I have written before. In fact, it is for your own good.
2 Watch out for those people who behave like dogs! They are evil and want to do more than just circumcise you. 3 But we are the ones who are truly circumcised, because we worship by the power of God’s Spirit[a]and take pride in Christ Jesus. We don’t brag about what we have done, 4 although I could. Others may brag about themselves, but I have more reason to brag than anyone else. 5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old,[b] and I am from the nation of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a true Hebrew. As a Pharisee, I strictly obeyed the Law of Moses. 6 And I was so eager that I even made trouble for the church. I did everything the Law demands in order to please God.
7 But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. 8 Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ 9 and to know that I belong to him. I could not make myself acceptable to God by obeying the Law of Moses. God accepted me simply because of my faith in Christ. 10 All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, 11 so that somehow I also may be raised to life.
Running toward the Goal
12 I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. 13 My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. 14 I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done. 15 All of us who are mature should think in this same way. And if any of you think differently, God will make it clear to you. 16 But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed.
17 My friends, I want you to follow my example and learn from others who closely follow the example we set for you. 18 I often warned you that many people are living as enemies of the cross of Christ. And now with tears in my eyes, I warn you again 19 that they are headed for hell! They worship their stomachs and brag about the disgusting things they do. All they can think about are the things of this world.
20 But we are citizens of heaven and are eagerly waiting for our Savior to come from there. Our Lord Jesus Christ 21 has power over everything, and he will make these poor bodies of ours like his own glorious body.
The reading plan I’ve chosen is from Bible Class Material and it’s a 5 day plan, with weekend days to catch up or get ahead or just take a break!