“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.’ ”
Ooooh, Israelites. So foolish, so small-minded, distrusting, anxiety-prone and impatient. And so relatable!
Everyone peels off their gold jewelry and hands it over to Aaron so he can melt it down and create a three-dimensional god for themselves. I wonder if this is the same jewelry mentioned in chapter 12. God favored the Israelites and prompted the Egyptians to hand over their wealth to them on their way out of town.
Did God’s people take something he gifted them and worship it instead of him?
We do this too. In moments when we can’t see him, when we haven’t heard from him in a while and we desire something tangible, we scrape up something to worship. Aaron fails them as a leader here. He doesn’t comfort the people, point out their impatience or remind them of God’s history with them so far. He disobeys God and gives them something temporary and manmade, instead of extending them God’s hope.
What’s your gold calf? What’s something in your life that God gave you, that you reach for instead of him?
Notice here how Moses advocates for the people. He calls upon God to be true to his promise, rather than true only to his justice. We are fickle, failing people in need of a middle man, mediating on our behalf to our God.
As we near the end of Exodus, start reflecting on this story. How does it line up with the gospel? What does it say about spiritual slavery? What have you learned about Jesus from Moses?