The people were terror-stricken and awed by the irrefutable power exercised by Moses. He stood,
one man against more than 600,000 soldiers (Num. 1:46), and commanded that those who were
guilty of this sin be put to death. Moses had just been in the very presence of God, and no one
was able to resist his authority and power.
As the people viewed the threatening cloud on the mountaintop above them, revealing God’s
presence, they could offer no resistance, and 3,000 were slain because they had repudiated God.
Every person must have been weighed down—some with remorse for their sin, others with dread
that the wrath of God would destroy even more of them.
They undoubtedly remembered the awful voice of God they had heard about six weeks earlier,
specifically prohibiting them from making any graven images. They had been quick at that time
to say they would do everything God commanded, but they had committed a terrible sin. They
had not feared God as they should have.
May those of us who know Jesus Christ as Saviour determine within our hearts to fix our eyes on
Christ and to serve and honor Him, regardless of the apostasy that is everywhere about us.
Remember Moses’ searching question: “Who is on the Lord’s side?” (Ex. 32:26).
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man
that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Pet. 3:15).