Ellen G. White Writings

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From Eternity Past, Page 219

Chapter 28—Israel Worships a Golden Calf

This chapter is based on Exodus 32 to 34.

While Moses was absent, it was a time of waiting and suspense to Israel. The people waited eagerly for his return. Accustomed in Egypt to material representations of deity, it had been hard for them to trust in an invisible being. They had come to rely upon Moses to sustain their faith. Now he was taken from them. Week after week passed, and still he did not return. It seemed to many in the camp that their leader had deserted them or that he had been consumed by the devouring fire.

During this period of waiting, there was time to meditate upon the law of God which they had heard, and to prepare their hearts to receive further revelations that He might make to them. Had they been seeking a clearer understanding of God's requirements and humbling their hearts before Him, they would have been shielded from temptation. But they soon became careless, inattentive, and lawless, especially the “mixed multitude.” They were impatient to be on their way to the land flowing with milk and honey. It was only on condition of obedience that the goodly land was promised them; but they had lost sight of this. Some suggested a return to Egypt; but whether forward to Canaan or backward to Egypt, the masses were determined to wait no longer for Moses.

The “mixed multitude” had been the first to indulge murmuring and impatience and were the leaders in apostasy. Among the objects regarded by the Egyptians as symbols of deity was the ox or calf. At the suggestion

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