Exodus 20:23-24: You shall not make other gods besides me, gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves. You shall make an altar for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered.
Yahweh spoke these words to Moses on Mount Sinai. Some forty days later, at the foot of Sinai, Israel broke every one of these commandments.
They made a calf of gold (32:2-4). They offered ascension offerings and peace offerings before their god (32:6). They sat down to feast and rose up to play (32:6), which means they were engaged in an orgy, exposing their nakedness before Yahweh. The fear of God did not remain with them.
Like Adam in the garden, they seized forbidden fruit. As in the garden, Yahweh confronted Israel. The Lord’s people worshiped idols, and turned the Lord’s feast into a table of demons. So Yahweh severely judged them and threatened to leave.
This is a table of joy, but it is also for testing and sifting. If you come to this table hating your brother, it will bring sickness and even death. If you spent the week abusing your wife, children, and employees, this table brings judgment. If you try to eat here and get takeout from the table of demons on the side, you provoke the Lord our Husband to jealousy.
Worship always brings judgment. Unless we repent, we will be judged. But, Paul says, if we judge ourselves, we will not be condemned with the world. When we do that, this table purifies us. Jesus comes to judge us unto life, so that His joy and His fear may be in us, so that we may not sin.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Sunday, June 24, 2012 at 7:07 am
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