Kinda a big chunk of Scripture this time. But…it’s a good’un
“When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses, who brought us here from the land of Egypt.”
So Aaron said, “Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters, and bring them to me.”
All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it, they exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
Aaron saw how excited the people were, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!”
The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this, they celebrated with feasting and drinking, and they indulged in pagan revelry.”
Exodus 32:1-6 [emphasis added]
Everyone always looks at this story and says, “oh, don’t make any Gods for yourself. Okay.” That’s what I was thinking when I read it the other night too. But…look a little deeper. there’s more. Not that the first isn’t a totally valid point and a huge part of the story.
First thing I saw-the people were getting tired of waiting for Moses to come down the mountain. Moses was up there with God, getting instructions and stuff. But the people were just like “he’s taking forEVER; he must have died. Maybe God isn’t so awesome afterall. Let’s worship something else.”
Now, to us, we look at that and say “You have GOT to be kidding me. God just parted the red sea for them, and they’re looking to ditch him already?”
I totally did that. I was reading and just shook my head. “Who does that?”
But then something just stopped me. “Look again. More do it than you think.”
Have you ever decided God was moving too slowly and took something in to your own hands? Uh huh, I thought so.
They’re not so different from us as we thought. It’s just a more subtle form of the exact same situation.
Notice that the people say “These are the gods who brought you out of Israel” when God is sitting on the mountain behind them? How many times have we done THAT? Okay, not like that. on a smaller scale.
“All this studying brought me this A!”
“All my practicing made me a great pianist!”
“All my charm made me popular!”
“My hard work made me rich!”
Uhhh…without God’s help you would have gotten none of that stuff. Don’t forget that. When you forget the part God played, you may as well be setting up a golden calf in front of God’s mountain. Give God credit. “He gives and takes away” like the song says.
Then Aaron! Upon seeing how the people reacted, it’s like his own conscience was gone. He just made an altar to the calf. He knew better! How often do we know something is wrong but…everyone else who has seen everything we have is doing it too, it must be okay.
Guilty! Boy am I glad God forgives. I’ve done that. With music, especially. I had this feeling “hey this stuff isn’t the greatest to listen to.” but…I drowned it out. “Oh look, so and so is a Christian and it doesn’t bother them. So it’s okay.” Yeah, no. Don’t ignore those little nudgings. It is possible to silence your conscience.
So next time you’re tempted to just skim through stories, take a second. Think about how they’re reacting. See how it applies to your own life.
And don’t make any golden calves!