Exodus 32

Talks for Growing Christians

The Golden Calf Idol

Exodus 32

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Lesson Number 35

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The incident of the golden calf exposed the idolatry and immorality of the people.
  2. The incident of the golden calf exhibited the intercession and wrath of Moses.
  3. The incident of the golden calf exacted the discipline and judgment of God

Practical Application

  1. Use your gold for the glory of God.


  1. Where was Moses when the Children of Israel constructed the golden calf?
  2. What Law did the construction of the golden calf directly violate?
  3. What other sin is often linked with idolatry?
  4. Moses interceded for the people on the basis of three considerations. Review them.
  5. .Moses ground the golden calf to powder, threw it into the brook, and made the people drink it? What was this about?


  1. He was on top of Mount Sinai, receiving the Law from the Lord.
  2. This act was a direct violation of the second commandment in Exodus 20, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image,”
  3. Sexual immorality (see Romans 1:22-24)
  4. 1) The Israelites were God’s chosen people 2) What would the Egyptians say now about the God of Israel? 3) The promises of the Abrahamic Covenant
  5. Moses’ actions not only got rid of the calf, but certainly symbolized the truth that you will reap the bitter results of what you sow.


  1. God does answer prayer. Exodus 32 says God “changed His mind.” This is from the human perspective and does not contradict the sovereignty of God. Discuss the purpose of prayer and its results.
  2. God’s discipline and judgment on the people was carried out by the sword and by plague, and killed over 3,000 people. Reading about such discipline is not pleasant, but it emphasizes God’s righteousness and holiness. The doctrine of Hell is also unpleasant, but it also upholds Gods righteousness. Why are people often eager to trade God’s character traits of righteousness and holiness for His love and mercy?


  1. Some of the gold the Israelites plundered from Egypt was used in the Tabernacle for the glory of God. But some of the gold was used for the golden calf, which took away from the glory of God. Where is your gold going?

Key Verses

  • “They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” Exodus 32:8
  • “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.

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