Israel’s Rebellions Reviewed

In Greenville, Mississippi, a radar device set up in a speed zone quickly caught three persons. The first was Mayor Pat Dunne. He paid a fine and commented, “The only way to avoid fines is not to speed.” The second person arrested was a policeman. The third was a l … More


While Moses was praying, God told him to perform a twofold responsibility (vv. 12-21):

  1. To stop the apostasy of making the golden calf.
  2. To make intercession for the divine execution of the people of God.

Moses reminds his people that when he came down from the mountain, he broke the two tablets of the Ten Commandments because the people had sinned (vv. 15-17). Then he reminds them that he had interceded before God. He identifies the guilt of the present congregation with their fathers who had sinned, again condemning their self-righteousness (vv. 18-20). He identifies Aaron as one who was to have been destroyed because of disobedience. Even though Aaron was not yet a high priest, he was condemned because he had been one of the leaders of Israel. The details of how they had to get rid of the golden calf are not coincidental (v. 21). Moses wants to remind them of their rebellion.

Moses gives a list of other occasions when Israel had rebelled against God. (vv.  22-24). The list is not arranged chronologically, but begins with the smaller offenses and progresses to the more serious rebellion. The tragedy of rebellion is not so much in the act, but in the attitude of the heart. He begins with the smaller offenses and progresses to the more serious offenses. Moses prays and asks God to deliver Israel because of how it will look in the eyes of the other nations (v.v. 25-29).


The Israelites main problem was that they looked to their own limited resources instead of trusting God and following Him. It is easy for this same thing to happen to me today. I must admit that I have a rebellious streak in my life but Christ wants to give me victory.

Deuteronomy 9:12-29 (English Standard Version)

Then the LORD said to me, 'Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought from Egypt have acted corruptly. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them; they have made themselves a metal image.' "Furthermore, the LORD said to me, 'I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stubborn people. Let me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.' So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain was burning with fire. And the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the LORD your God. You had made yourselves a golden calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the LORD had commanded you. So I took hold of the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes. Then I lay prostrate before the LORD as before, forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin that you had committed, in doing what was evil in the sight of the LORD to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure that the LORD bore against you, so that he was ready to destroy you. But the LORD listened to me that time also. And the LORD was so angry with Aaron that he was ready to destroy him. And I prayed for Aaron also at the same time. Then I took the sinful thing, the calf that you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it very small, until it was as fine as dust. And I threw the dust of it into the brook that ran down from the mountain. "At Taberah also, and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the LORD to wrath. And when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, 'Go up and take possession of the land that I have given you,' then you rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God and did not believe him or obey his voice. You have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you. "So I lay prostrate before the LORD for these forty days and forty nights, because the LORD had said he would destroy you. And I prayed to the LORD, 'O Lord GOD, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin, lest the land from which you brought us say, "Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness." For they are your people and your heritage, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm."'

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