The Blood-Red Stream (Exodus 32:1-20)
Before concluding our consideration of the number forty in Scripture, permit me to point out over the next few days some other significant occurrences of forty in the Bible. Let’s begin with Exodus 24:18, where we’re told that Moses was up on the mount for forty days and forty nights.
While Moses was away, receiving the commandments of God, the people decided that they didn’t want a God who demanded obedience. Instead, they wanted a god of their own making, one who required nothing from them and before whom they could indulge in revelry. Today’s world still covets such a god to worship, one who is undemanding and before whom the world can party hardy. The problem with this is that such a god is nonexistent. Like the golden calf, such gods are idols fabricated in man’s imagination and forged with his own hands.
When Moses descended the mountain and caught sight of the people’s idolatrous revelry, he threw down the tablets in his hands and broke them into pieces. The picture being painted in this scriptural scene is unmistakable. Man is a lawbreaker. Indeed, Israel had managed to break God’s Law even before they had received it.
The Bible teaches us that “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). It also teaches that “all have sinned” and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 5:12; 6:23). As the ancient Prophet Ezekiel declared, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).
What remedy or recourse do we have? Truly, we are in dire and desperate spiritual straits. What hope is there for our salvation?
At Sinai, Moses did a most curious thing; he had the golden calf burned, ground to powder and then strewn on the stream that ran down the mountain. Afterward, he made all the people drink from the stream. According to the late Dr. M. R. DeHann, gold powder strewn on water turns the water blood-red. What a beautiful picture of our salvation in Christ.
Our only hope of salvation from sin; that is, from transgressing the laws of God, is to drink of the blood-red stream that runs down the mountain. However, the mountain is not Sinai, but Calvary, where Christ died on the cross for the sin of the world. As Jesus said, “My blood is drink indeed” and whosoever “drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54-55).