How does God want Christians to profit concerning worship from Exodus 32:17-20?

We know from 2 Tim. 3:15-17 that God wants Christians to profit from everything that He has inspired in the Bible. How does God want Christians to profit concerning their understanding of proper worship, especially of proper worship music, from the mention of singing and dancing in the following key passage about idolatrous worship:

Exodus 32:17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. 19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. 20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. 

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Jay's picture

Exodus 32 contains divine revelation of a very intensely negative evaluation of the people's dancing by the leading man of God in his day...

No, it doesn't.  Stop pulling verses out of context to support your ideas.  Exodus 32 is extremely clear what the problem is, and it's not dancing:

7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

There is no mention of music or dancing.  God makes it very clear that idolatry is the problem. Furthermore:

9 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

21 He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”

22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

Again, Moses' fury is directed at the calf, not the music or the dancing.  There are no commands anywhere in this passage about stopping their music or their dancing.  It's all about the calf.

Also:

So because a commentator says that a word suggests something and gives no Bible references to back up what he says it suggests, that makes it so?

No, but when a Hebrew word is used to indicate fornication and sexual immorality elsewhere in the OT (Numbers 25:2), I think that's pretty good ground to stand on.

Seriously, Rajesh, you need to take a hermeneutics class.  This is basic stuff.

 

And Tyler?  Now you've quit preaching and gone to meddling.  Smile

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jim's picture

RajeshG wrote:
Are you interested in discussing what a specific text of Scripture teaches or do you have some other agenda of your own by posting a response such as this one . . .

Look in the mirror! You see CCM behind every tree

RajeshG's picture

Jay wrote:

Exodus 32 contains divine revelation of a very intensely negative evaluation of the people's dancing by the leading man of God in his day...

No, it doesn't.  Stop pulling verses out of context to support your ideas.  Exodus 32 is extremely clear what the problem is, and it's not dancing:

7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’

There is no mention of music or dancing.  God makes it very clear that idolatry is the problem. Furthermore:

9 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

21 He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”

22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”

Again, Moses' fury is directed at the calf, not the music or the dancing.  There are no commands anywhere in this passage about stopping their music or their dancing.  It's all about the calf.

Also:

So because a commentator says that a word suggests something and gives no Bible references to back up what he says it suggests, that makes it so?

No, but when a Hebrew word is used to indicate fornication and sexual immorality elsewhere in the OT (Numbers 25:2), I think that's pretty good ground to stand on.

Seriously, Rajesh, you need to take a hermeneutics class.  This is basic stuff.

 

And Tyler?  Now you've quit preaching and gone to meddling.  Smile

It's telling that you completely ignore an explicit statement about Moses' anger in Exod. 32

Exodus 32:19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. (Exod. 32:19 KJV)

This is an explicit statement about Moses' anger.

Moreover, here is the entry for the Hebrew verb rendered "to play" in Exod. 32:6:

Holladay, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the OT (HOL)
Hol7153   
צחק: qal: pf. צָֽחֲקָה, צָחָֽקְתְּ; impf. יִֽצְחַק־ Gn 216, וַיִּצְחַק, וַתִּצְחַק: laugh Gn 1717 1812f•15, w. l® at 216.

piel: impf. וַיְצַחֵק; inf. לְצַחֵק, לְצַ֫חֶק; pt. מְצַחֵק: — 1. abs. joke Gn 914, play 219, amuse onesf. Ex 326; — 2. w. °¢t fondle (a woman) Gn 268; w. b® play around with 3914•17; w. lifnê amuse onesf. before Ju 1625. † (pg 305)

I wonder why the standard Hebrew lexicon doesn't render it as fornication and sexual immorality in Exodus 32:6? 

Furthermore, the verb in Ex. 32:6 does not occur in Num. 25:2.

RajeshG's picture

Jim wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

Are you interested in discussing what a specific text of Scripture teaches or do you have some other agenda of your own by posting a response such as this one . . .

 

Look in the mirror! You see CCM behind every tree

It's saddens me that this is how you have chosen to interact with another Christian with whom you have had no previous interaction. May the Lord bless you in the future in enabling you to please Him in all your ways.

AndyE's picture

Jay wrote:
Seriously, Rajesh, you need to take a hermeneutics class.  This is basic stuff.

It appears that Rajesh has a PhD in NT Interpretation, so maybe push back without the insult?  Many on here have been asking for someone to present a Biblical reason for rejecting CCM.  This is why no one one wants to.  Instead of conversation, we get insults.  

 

AndyE's picture

Jim wrote:

 

RajeshG wrote:

Are you interested in discussing what a specific text of Scripture teaches or do you have some other agenda of your own by posting a response such as this one . . .

 

Look in the mirror! You see CCM behind every tree

Jim, how is this a helpful comment?  You were the one who warned us about Rajesh's "agenda" in the first place.  He pushes back and you get offended?

Jim's picture

AndyE wrote:
You were the one who warned us about Rajesh's "agenda" in the first place.  He pushes back and you get offended?

Finale for me on this thread and them I'm out of here!

  • I'm not bothered by Rajesh's "agenda" ... just stated it with links
  • I'm not offended (and frankly I don't care!)
  • I'm not promoting CCM. My church is about as conservative as it gets on music and I am too
  • I just am pushing back on the use of the Exodus passage to condemn CCM
Ron Bean's picture

I'm taking the seat next to Jim. 

I realize that Rajesh has a degree. I was hoping he'd put it to use.

As I've said repeatedly, making claims without supporting warrants for those claims is an easy thing to do. 

For 40 years I've been hearing claims about music. When I've asked for warrants (proofs) I've been told that it's up to me to disprove the claim. That tactic loses in meaningful debate every time.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Ron Bean wrote:

...making claims without supporting warrants for those claims is an easy thing to do. 

For 40 years I've been hearing claims about music. When I've asked for warrants (proofs) I've been told that it's up to me to disprove the claim. That tactic loses in meaningful debate every time.

This ^^^^^^.

Dave Barnhart

Jay's picture

AndyE wrote:

Jay wrote:

Seriously, Rajesh, you need to take a hermeneutics class.  This is basic stuff.

It appears that Rajesh has a PhD in NT Interpretation, so maybe push back without the insult?  Many on here have been asking for someone to present a Biblical reason for rejecting CCM.  This is why no one one wants to.  Instead of conversation, we get insults.  

I didn’t know Rajesh has a Ph.D., much less one in New Testament Interpretation.

I stand my ground that Exodus 32 is about idolatry and has nothing (or very little) to do with music styles and/or dance. I completely reject the idea that that passage has anything to do with 21st Century worship practices for the Christian Church.

Also for the record, I disagree with dancing in corporate worship as well, mostly because I never have any idea what the dancer is actually supposed to be conveying in their dance.  YMMV.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

RajeshG's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

I realize that Rajesh has a degree. I was hoping he'd put it to use.

I am putting it to use. So far, the interpretation that Exodus 32 is an account of the worship of a pagan deity has been shown to be untenable.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I know what it was. The Israelites were singing "This I Believe," also by Hillsong. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

RajeshG's picture

Jay wrote:

I stand my ground that Exodus 32 is about idolatry and has nothing (or very little) to do with music styles and/or dance. I completely reject the idea that that passage has anything to do with 21st Century worship practices for the Christian Church.

1 Corinthians 10:7, which quotes Exodus 32:6, teaches us that God does not give Christians the option of completely rejecting "the idea that the passage has anything to do with 21st Century worship practices for the Christian Church."

Exodus 32:6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

1 Corinthians 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

This apostolic statement that was directed to a NT church in a NT epistle commands believers not to be idolaters, as the people were in Exodus 32. What's crucial to note is that Paul did not say under divine inspiration, "You must not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, They made a calf and bowed down to it."

Instead, the Spirit directs our attention to two things that they did after they had made the calf. He specifies that we must not be idolaters in two ways, as they were: (1) Eating and drinking in a worship context what has been offered to an idol in a worship context; and (2) Playing as they did in a worship context after they had consumed those sacrifices in a worship context.

A NT believer who wants to please God in all areas of His life absolutely must square up with what the Spirit is saying must not be done in playing, as they did in the context of their false worship of Yahweh.

What did they do when they played that we are commanded by God not to do?

Jay's picture

I'm not going to do this, Rajesh, because I have too many other pressing issues that need my attention.  You have your opinion, and I disagree.  Have a good night.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

Editor

Tell us, in explicit terms, what holy music is and what it looks like.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

GregH's picture

I have no real dog in the fight in this debate. It is a waste of time and everyone knows that it will go no where and frankly, I just don't care any more about this debate. However, when I read Rajesh, I am reminded of a fellow named (I think) Ted Bigelow who used to come here. He had some far-out ideas about how every city should have a church bishop of sorts and there should only be one church in a city. Like Rajesh, he built his elaborate doctrine from little bits and pieces of verses. To say he was extra-Biblical would be the understatement of the century. And of course, he could not answer the practical questions such as why he was a pastor in a town with other churches, whether he should be the bishop of his town, and what a town was in the first place...

Rajesh is the same way. He wants to build some huge theology of music from a short phrase from this and that verse. In the end of the day, he will of course run up against a stone wall where he has to put up or shut up when things get practical: how to objectively define what music is good and what is bad. He can't do it of course and won't here, just like all the rest of the guys like him.

For some reason, Rajesh is hung up on music. I have no idea why. He is not a musician. But he is. And his agenda against music does impact his thinking and perspective to the point where he just does not make much sense. I have no doubt that he is much smarter when he is not talking about music and a better theologian when he is not talking about music. 

RajeshG's picture

Jay wrote:

I'm not going to do this, Rajesh, because I have too many other pressing issues that need my attention.  You have your opinion, and I disagree.  Have a good night.

That's fine with me. I began this thread with a desire to interact with interested believers who are seriously interested in knowing what God communicates to us in Exodus 32 concerning their worship and its relevance to us. That is a vital question.

Jay's picture

I remembered this XKCD comic, so I figured I'd share with everyone here for their edification.  I tried it link it so it would show up in the post itself, but that doesn't seem to be working.  Enjoy.

https://www.xkcd.com/386/

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

RajeshG's picture

TylerR wrote:

Tell us, in explicit terms, what holy music is and what it looks like.

Please go start your own thread about what interests you. You are not commending your testimony to me (and probably many others) as a Christian pastor and blogger by making repeated provocative remarks (prior to this one) that are not what this thread is about. If you are not interested in an in-depth discussion and analysis of a specific Bible passage that is a very important Bible passage about worship, please do not hinder those of us who are.

RajeshG's picture

GregH wrote:

For some reason, Rajesh is hung up on music. I have no idea why. He is not a musician. But he is. And his agenda against music does impact his thinking and perspective to the point where he just does not make much sense. I have no doubt that he is much smarter when he is not talking about music and a better theologian when he is not talking about music. 

"For some reason, Rajesh is hung up on music. I have no idea why."

There are more than 3000 verses in the Bible that pertain to the subject of music. God says that people who immerse themselves in His Word day and night will be blessed people.

"And his agenda against music does impact his thinking and perspective to the point where he just does not make much sense. I have no doubt that he is much smarter when he is not talking about music and a better theologian when he is not talking about music. "

There are many people who would disagree with your assessments that I have an agenda against music and am not able to make much sense when I speak on the subject.

TylerR's picture

Editor

My question was honest. I asked you a similar one in the related thread. My comments you mentioned were meant to be humorous and lighthearted. 

I believe you should consider what others are saying here. You seem to be very imbalanced on this subject. I don't know if you are, because an online profile doesn't always represent the whole picture of a man. So, please consider what people are saying. 

Take care. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

RajeshG's picture

TylerR wrote:

My question was honest. I asked you a similar one in the related thread. My comments you mentioned were meant to be humorous and lighthearted. 

I believe you should consider what others are saying here. You seem to be very imbalanced on this subject. I don't know if you are, because an online profile doesn't always represent the whole picture of a man. So, please consider what people are saying. 

Take care. 

Thanks for these remarks. I have considered very carefully what people are saying here and disagree with what they are saying. I am committed to intensely exegetical study of everything that God has said. This thread was intended for detailed discussion and analysis of a key passage and parallel passages for the goal of understanding more accurately what God intends for us to know.

Your question cannot be answered without such thorough attention to all that God has said. Any believer who is not willing to immerse themselves in what God has said will end up doing what is right in his own eyes.

I invite you to engage exegetically in the specific topic of this thread. Even if we never agree on ultimate applications, time spent in detailed study of God's own words will not be wasted time.

Ken S's picture

Rajesh, I think most who have commented in this thread do not accept the premise...that Exodus 32 has anything to do with proper worship music. Because of that it will be very difficult to engage on the topic.

Even if I grant that your premise is true and this passage has to do with proper worship music, it still doesn't allow me to engage very much because:

  • We would have to assume that they had two (or more) styles of music, one being holy and the other unholy, and that they stopped using the right style and started using the wrong style. But there's no reason for us to assume that they changed music styles. Rather they changed the object of their worship.
  • We don't know what the improper music sounded like (the actual music, not referring to the sound of war...I've also heard that at children's birthday parties).
  • We don't know what the proper music would have sounded like.
  • We don't know what would have been the specific elements of the music that were unholy.

In short, there's nothing for us to engage on musically in this passage. It doesn't help me in any way determine what holy music would be versus unholy. I do see that the passage speaks to worship, but not to worship music, and therefore there's not much to engage on if you are looking for a discussion on music.

Greg Long's picture

Amen, Ken S

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

RajeshG's picture

Ken S wrote:

Rajesh, I think most who have commented in this thread do not accept the premise...that Exodus 32 has anything to do with proper worship music. Because of that it will be very difficult to engage on the topic.

Even if I grant that your premise is true and this passage has to do with proper worship music, it still doesn't allow me to engage very much because:

  • We would have to assume that they had two (or more) styles of music, one being holy and the other unholy, and that they stopped using the right style and started using the wrong style. But there's no reason for us to assume that they changed music styles. Rather they changed the object of their worship.
  • We don't know what the improper music sounded like (the actual music, not referring to the sound of war...I've also heard that at children's birthday parties).
  • We don't know what the proper music would have sounded like.
  • We don't know what would have been the specific elements of the music that were unholy.

In short, there's nothing for us to engage on musically in this passage. It doesn't help me in any way determine what holy music would be versus unholy. I do see that the passage speaks to worship, but not to worship music, and therefore there's not much to engage on if you are looking for a discussion on music.

Actually, divine inspiration of the passage guarantees that what it reveals about their worship music on this occasion has profitability for our understanding about worship music ( 2 Tim. 3:15-17).

Joel Shaffer's picture

Actually, divine inspiration of the passage guarantees that what it reveals about their worship music on this occasion has profitability for our understanding about worship music ( 2 Tim. 3:15-17).

RajeshG, 

You didn't address any/each of Ken's bullet points on proper worship music and so you come across as if you are avoiding answering him.  

Ken S's picture

RajeshG wrote:

Actually, divine inspiration of the passage guarantees that what it reveals about their worship music on this occasion has profitability for our understanding about worship music ( 2 Tim. 3:15-17).

And that means we will be at an impasse and unable to have further discussion on this passage because I do not believe that it is revealing anything about worship music. 2 Timothy is not going to help me find something profitable on a topic that I do not believe the passage is dealing with. Thanks for the interaction. 

TylerR's picture

Editor

Behold ...

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him,” (Exodus 32:1).

The Israelites explicitly decided to worship pagan gods when they suspected Moses was not coming back. They sought replacements (plural) for Yahweh as soon as they believed Moses was delayed. This tells us the issue in Exodus 32 was idolatry.

So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:2-4).

Aaron responded by requisitioning material to make a idol for them to worship. He made tools and used them to fashion this idol. The Israelites responded by proclaiming these idols to be the gods that rescued them from the Egyptians. The issue is pagan idolatry and betrayal of Yahweh.

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play (Exodus 32:5-6).

What did Aaron build an altar before? The calf. The feast was in honor of Yahweh, as if He would be pleased! They brought offerings, likely to the calf, because the alter was before it. They may have been to Yahweh, which would only make their transgression worse.

What about the “eating” and “playing?” It’s done in the context of a feast to Yahweh, which has clear polytheistic elements. The “playing,” whatever it may be, is not moral behavior. The context in which it occurs is the key – polytheistic worship.

And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” (Exodus 32:7-8).

How have they corrupted themselves? Likely by holding to a polytheism by crediting false “gods” with their rescue from Egypt, while claiming their subsequent feast was in honor of Yahweh. It is clear they viewed Him as one god among many; perhaps even the highest god. Still, this is a clear betrayal. This is why they have “turned aside.”

And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you,” (Exodus 32:9-10).

Yahweh is angry Understandable …

But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people (Exodus 32:11-4).

Moses clearly understands and accepts the monotheistic ethos Yahweh demands. He appeals to God’s covenant promises as the basis for not destroying the Israelities.

Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written. The tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “There is a noise of war in the camp.” But he said, “It is not the sound of shouting for victory, or the sound of the cry of defeat, but the sound of singing that I hear,” (Exodus 32:15-18).

Whence cometh this singing? It comes in the context of this feast to Yahweh, which Aaron proclaimed after fashioning a pagan idol and proclaiming “gods” had rescued them rom Egypt, and after making an alter for this idol. The feast includes alleged worship of Yahweh, but it takes place in a polytheistic context. Add to it, the “playing” seems to be immoral behavior of some sort (not specified). This is immoral revelry in the context of polytheistic worship.

And as soon as he came near the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses' anger burned hot, and he threw the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf that they had made and burned it with fire and ground it to powder and scattered it on the water and made the people of Israel drink it (Exodus 32:19-20).

Why did Moses become angry? Because of the calf and the dancing.

What was the object of this dancing and revelry? The text suggests it was the calf, however much Aaron tried to proclaim the feast was for Yahweh. We know this because Moses immediately destroyed the calf.

And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf,” (Exodus 32:21-24).

Aron’s excuses are pathetic and clearly ridiculous. He is deflecting.

And when Moses saw that the people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose, to the derision of their enemies), then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord's side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him (Exodus 32:25-26).

How had the people “broken loose” or gotten “out of control?” Likely by abandoning Yahweh and embracing polytheism wholeheartedly.

And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’” And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell. And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day,” (Exodus 32:27-29).

Self-explanatory.

The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin,” (Exodus 32:30).

What was this great sin that requires atonement? Is it singing? Is it dancing? That is too myopic; it is the pagan, polytheistic idolatry.

So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods of gold (Exodus 32:31).

As I said; the sin is the polytheism. This is the issue throughout the chapter/ The singing and dancing (whose form are not discussed) are fruits of this poisonous tree. The issue is the idolatry.  

But now, if you will forgive their sin—but if not, please blot me out of your book that you have written.” But the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book. But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them,” (Exodus 32:32-34).

Sin has consequences. What is this sin? Is it dancing? Is it singing? No, it’s something else entirely …

Then the Lord sent a plague on the people, because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made (Exodus 32:35).

The sin is the calf. The sin is the polytheistic, pagan worship.

Rejesh asks:

How does God want Christians to profit concerning their understanding of proper worship, especially of proper worship music, from the mention of singing and dancing in the following key passage about idolatrous worship:

Exodus 32 is not about pagan worship music. We know this because the passage itself tells us the sin was the worship of the calf. The text tells us nothing about this music, so we don't know what the problem is. We do know the singing occurred in the context of the pagan, polytheistic worship of the calf. Beyond that, we can draw no implications at all. So, with no malice intended, this is my analysis of your position (as I mentioned, above):

 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

RajeshG's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

Actually, divine inspiration of the passage guarantees that what it reveals about their worship music on this occasion has profitability for our understanding about worship music ( 2 Tim. 3:15-17).

RajeshG, 

You didn't address any/each of Ken's bullet points on proper worship music and so you come across as if you are avoiding answering him.  

I work all day M-F and only have brief periods during the day for quick responses. I will get to his other points later.

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