ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 146


shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, “O Israel, these
are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of
the calf. Then he announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!”
The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings
and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking,
and they indulged in pagan revelry.
The Lord told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people
whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves.
How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to
live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed
down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”
Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these
people are. Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them,
and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”
But Moses tried to pacify the Lord his God. “O Lord!” he said. “Why
are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land
of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering
them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn
away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster
you have threatened against your people! Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I
will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will
give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and
they will possess it forever.’”
So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people.
Then Moses turned and went down the mountain. He held in his hands
the two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the covenant. They were
inscribed on both sides, front and back. These tablets were God’s work;
the words on them were written by God himself.
When Joshua heard the boisterous noise of the people shouting below
them, he exclaimed to Moses, “It sounds like war in the camp!”
But Moses replied, “No, it’s not a shout of victory nor the wailing of
defeat. I hear the sound of a celebration.”
When they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing,
and he burned with anger. He threw the stone tablets to the ground,
smashing them at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf they had made
and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water, and
forced the people to drink it.

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