And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount.
If only our sin was a tangible object like the golden calf and we could burn it and crush it and cast it away from us. But most often our sin is a motive or a thought, a word or an action. Sin is a condition of our hearts and a stain on our souls. So how could we ever reach inside ourselves and pull those things from us and cast them away? How can we destroy our golden calves when we don’t always recognize our sin as such? We could never do it ourselves.
Moses took the sin of the people, objectified as the golden calf, and destroyed it completely. He separated them from their sin. He cast it out from their midst. And who else but Christ can say to us, “I took your sin”? Who else but Christ could stamp it out and separate us from our sin so completely? Jesus took our sin upon Himself. He dealt with it personally. He alone was able to take it from us and make us right with God again. And when it is gone, it is gone for good. There was no rebuilding that golden calf once Moses had destroyed it.
But don’t we so often try to do just that? How foolish it would have been for the people of Israel to dive into that brook and swim after those ashes in order to refashion their idol. How often do we try to rebuild those things in our hearts that God has once destroyed? May we never seek to reclaim our sin but instead turn our eyes upon the Savior who freed us from it and make Him the object of our worship and service.
When we receive Jesus as our Savior and accept His forgiveness for our sin, it is gone from us completely. It has been ground to dust and sent down a river flowing away from where we dwell. It is cast into the depths of the sea. It is separated from us as far as east is from west. It is gone never to return, and what a comfort that is, what a blessing, what a sense of rest that produces in our souls. Unrighteousness is struggle and chaos and turmoil, but forgiveness is peace. So let us go forward, resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and not turn back to our sin that has been destroyed.