Exodus 31:18-32:6 (ESV)
And he gave to Moses, when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
OK, this takes first prize in the “You’re kidding, right?” category. They actually said, of the golden calf they had just made (long after crossing the Red Sea), “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” The stupid thing is made out of their earrings for crying out loud. How could they think, even for a minute, something that goofy?
Seriously, all fun and games aside, this is a real question that needs a real answer. Sure, sin makes us stupid, but if it can actually make us that stupid we need a warning label or something.
In their defense, having been raised in a polytheistic culture, they haven’t caught on to this monotheistic thing just yet. So, they don’t understand that this violates any rules, or even that it violates common sense.
But that’s our common sense. Common sense in ancient Egypt is that each aspect of life has a God in charge. So, who’s the God of sea crossings? Making one up seems silly to us but not to them.
This explains why Aaron’s reaction to their declaration is so mild. When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.”
Neither Aaron nor the people saw this as an outrage so, rather than throw a tantrum, Aaron tries to gently move their focus back towards the LORD.
Leave it to Moses to throw the tantrum.
Worship services must appeal to a range of audiences, while never violating God’s designs. This is tricky. Some people are offended by the very things that others find most uplifting.
Pray for your worship team. Their time and talents are a sweet offering to the LORD.
Without their contribution, what would you do?
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