The Golden Calf
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a]who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf,fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,[b] Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings.Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idolcast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’
9 “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. 10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”
11 But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out, to kill them in the mountains and to wipe them off the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce anger; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance forever.’” 14 Then the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
17 When Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “There is the sound of war in the camp.”
18 Moses replied:
“It is not the sound of victory,
it is not the sound of defeat;
it is the sound of singing that I hear.”
19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 20 And he took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.
21 He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”
22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”
25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him.
27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’”28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the Lord today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”
30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a great sin.But now I will go up to the Lord; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”
31 So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. 32 But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”
33 The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot outof my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angelwill go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”
35 And the Lord struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made.
The Israelites were so impatient that they talked Aaron into making a golden calf that they could call God and worship. Pastor John said they wanted a God they could see not an invisible God. They wanted a tangible God. Yet idols are empty and cannot satisfy the need like a loving caring God. Aaron collects everybody’s jewelry, melts it in the fire and molds it into a calf. The people were ecstatic. They had something they could see, feel, and look at … so they party and sin. 🙄 Aaron lets his pride get in his way when he sees their reaction and decides to build an altar to place the calf on… which adds more fuel to that fire.
God looks down as he speaks to Moses and says you’ve got to get down there. I am so angry I just want to destroy them all. But Moses intercedes for them. Please give them another chance. Remember the oath you made with Abraham, Isaac and Israel? So the Lord changes his mind and Moses comes down Mountain to a partying, sinning crowd. Now Moses is fuming.
He throws the tablets to the ground and they break, then he grabs the calf and tosses it into the fire, grinds it into powder, adds it to water and makes the people drink it. Then he turns to Aaron… really are you kidding me Aaron ? What’s going on here? And Aaron fabricates a story and passes the buck .. it’s the peoples fault! They kept hounding me, asking me where you were, saying they needed a God .. I tossed some gold into the fire and this calf popped out! SMH really Aaron? The will of the people is not always the will of God. Their impatience and frustration led them to idolatry and sin. Aaron wasn’t a true leader and caved into their demands. Then he blatantly lies to Moses and says this calf miraculously popped out of the fire!
Moses says pick a side.
Gods or the worlds.
It’s tough when you can’t feel and touch something, sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s real, like God. You can get close to God by getting in the word and by prayer. Being up close and personal and having an authentic conversation with him and being patient while you wait for his response. God grants Moses his request but tells him they/we will all be accountable for our individual sin. Each individual will have a conversation with God to explain the sin that they haven’t repented from. That’s why it’s so important each day to cleanse ourselves and go to God and ask for repentance. Like he instructed Aaron and his sons to wash themselves before entering the tent symbolizing the washing of sins daily. God is extremely loving, compassionate and merciful. Pastor John asked us this morning, “are you stubbornly resisting something that God is asking you to do? And are we guilty of passing the buck like Aaron?”
Be accountable. Fess up to your sins. God sees and knows all anyway. 😉