Extracted from the book of Exodus, Chapter 32:
1 When the people saw that Moses was a long time before coming down the mountain, they gathered round Aaron and said to him, 'Get to work, make us a god to go at our head; for that Moses, the man who brought us here from Egypt -- we do not know what has become of him.'
2 Aaron replied, 'Strip off the gold rings in the ears of your wives and your sons and daughters, and bring them to me.'
3 The people all stripped off the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron.
4 He received what they gave him, melted it down in a mould and with it made the statue of a calf. 'Israel,' the people shouted, 'here is your God who brought you here from Egypt!'
5 Observing this, Aaron built an altar before the statue and made this proclamation, 'Tomorrow will be a feast in Yahweh's honour.'
6 Early next morning they sacrificed burnt offerings and brought communion sacrifices. The people then sat down to eat and drink, and afterwards got up to amuse themselves. (Interpretation: It was likely to be debauchery, sex party among the Israelites.)
Extracted from the book of Exodus 32:7-11,13-14:
The Lord spoke to Moses, ‘Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostatised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice.
“Here is your God, Israel,” they have cried “who brought you up from the land of Egypt!”’
the Lord said to Moses, ‘I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.’
But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘why should your wrath blaze out against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: “I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.”’
So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
What happened next?
Extracted from the book of Exodus, Chapter 32:
19 And there, as Moses approached the camp, he saw the calf and the groups dancing. Moses blazed with anger. He threw down the tablets he was holding, shattering them at the foot of the mountain.
20 He seized the calf they had made and burned it, grinding it into powder which he scattered on the water, and made the Israelites drink it.
25 When Moses saw that the people were out of hand - for Aaron had let them get out of hand to the derision of their enemies all round them-
26 Moses then stood at the gate of the camp and shouted, 'Who is for Yahweh? To me!' And all the Levites rallied round him.
27 He said to them, 'Yahweh, God of Israel, says this, "Buckle on your sword, each of you, and go up and down the camp from gate to gate, every man of you slaughtering brother, friend and neighbour." '
28 The Levites did as Moses said, and of the people about three thousand men perished that day.
29 'Today', Moses said, 'you have consecrated yourselves to Yahweh, one at the cost of his son, another of his brother; and so he bestows a blessing on you today.'
30 On the following day Moses said to the people, 'You have committed a great sin. But now I shall go up to Yahweh: perhaps I can secure expiation for your sin.'
31 Moses then went back to Yahweh and said, 'Oh, this people has committed a great sin by making themselves a god of gold.
32 And yet, if it pleased you to forgive their sin. . .! If not, please blot me out of the book you have written!'
33 Yahweh said to Moses, 'Those who have sinned against me are the ones I shall blot out of my book.
34 So now go and lead the people to the place I promised to you. My angel will indeed go at your head but, on the day of punishment, I shall punish them for their sin.'
35 And Yahweh punished the people for having made the calf, the one Aaron had made.
Psalm 51:3-4, 12-13, 17, 19
I will leave this place and go to my father.
Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offence.
O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.
A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit.
O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise.
My sacrifice is a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.
Extracted from the 1st letter of Saint Paul to Timothy, 1 Timothy 1:12-17:
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service even though I used to be a blasphemer and did all I could to injure and discredit the faith.
Mercy, however, was shown me, because until I became a believer I had been acting in ignorance; and the grace of our Lord filled me with faith and with the love that is in Christ Jesus.
Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life.
To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 15:1-32:
The tax collectors and the sinners were all seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say, and the Pharisees and the scribes complained. ‘This man’ they said ‘welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ So he spoke this parable to them:
Parable of the Lost Sheep
‘What man among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it?
And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends and neighbours?
“Rejoice with me,” he would say “I have found my sheep that was lost.”
In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous men who have no need of repentance.
(Go to the place where Jesus preached > click smiley at Encouragements-231)
Parable of the Lost Coin
‘Or again, what woman with ten drachmas would not, if she lost one, light a lamp and sweep out the house and search thoroughly till she found it?
And then, when she had found it, call together her friends and neighbours?
“Rejoice with me,” she would say “I have found the drachma I lost.”
In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.’
Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:1-3, 11-32, see Encouragements-209)
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22 September 2013