Perhaps you’ve seen this scenario on TV or in real life: the dating relationship in which both parties understand the status, or at least the rules of engagement, of this relationship quite differently. One may find it to be a serious bond with far reaching implications while the other may be oblivious that anything had escalated to that point at all. And perhaps you’ve heard movie character A or relationship B come out with the words, “I didn’t realize we were exclusive.”
Many are familiar with the story found in Exodus 32 regarding the infamous golden calf. Absurdities flow in abundance here, for sure. Hasn’t God proved Himself? Why do they need to make a new god? Who melts their own jewelry to worship it? And does Aaron really think we believe it jumped out of the fire in that shape?
But Moses’ reactions to what they’ve done while he was gone are interesting.
Angry, Moses takes this golden calf and has it burnt and ground to powder. He then proceeds to scatter it all over the water and make the people of Israel drink it. But why?
Maybe this is a reprimand. We’ve all made mistakes as children, and maybe this is some classic punishment. Moses is simply the stern mother of the Israelites and he is going to force these folks to wash their mouths out with soap! Hamilton’s Handbook of the Pentateuch suggests it may even have been a means to establishing guilt, giving the Levites knowledge of whom to kill.
However, Hamilton also helps us to draw a connection between this passage and one found in Numbers 5. In this passage, a wife who has been unfaithful to her mate is to drink water from the laver that is mixed with dirt from the tabernacle floor. The drinking of this mix is both an admission of guilt and physical representation of it.
Like our couple from above, these two passages needed some serious DTR time. (define the relationship for you old folks) Have these people forgotten that the relationship was exclusive?
In both, a betrayal has occurred. In the instance of this adulterous woman and our idolatrous Israel, we find a great need to return to an exclusive relationship. Our God desires an exclusive relationship. If they didn’t find that in the beginning, if they skipped that part of the 10 Commandments, if they missed the revelations along the journey, surely they can see it now.
Israelites, this is to be an exclusive relationship with God.
We are to be exclusively His.
Exclusive: excluding other things. Focused or targeted on one thing only. Sole. Constant. Undivided. Unbroken. Absolute.