If you've never read Exodus 32 I would encourage you to do so in the near future. I have been studying the passage to teach it this coming Sunday morning. The first few verses struck me about the foolishness of sin. Or if I may say, "Sin makes us stupid." It is easy to read these verses and think, "Huh, these people weren't so bright" but before that happens maybe we should examine our own hearts. I find I am more than like the Israelites than I want to admit.
The Israelites witnessed many amazing things before this moment in Exodus 32:
The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night
The parting of the Red Sea
The log turning the water from bitter o sweet
The raining of bread from heaven
The water from the rock
The Lord's audible voice on Mt. Sinai
The Lord had shown them spectacular realities about himself in rescuing them out of Egypt. They saw things that we read about and are blown away. Then in Exodus 32 while Moses is on the mountain talking with God the people get impatient with Moses. Rather than continuing to trust the Lord's plan they turn there back on him.
"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!'" (Exodus 32:1-4)
Really? Don't you feel like shaking them and saying, "Hey knuckleheads, do you not remember the true God who lead you out of Egypt? You just made the calf from your own jewelry. The calf is not the God who lead you out of Egypt." I know that is my first response when I read this passage. But after the initial shock of their actions, I think about my own sinful heart and how I am like the Israelites.
Christian, ponder a moment with me:
God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins on a bloody cross. Christ took our punishment and our sins upon himself and in return he gives us his perfect righteousness so that we can have a relationship with our holy Creator.
Yet we so often chase after the things of this world. When we compare the love of Christ for us with the love God showed the Israelites we look just as foolish as them when we turn our back's on him for lesser things. Sin always makes us blind to reality. May we fix our eyes on Christ and the things of the world will grow dim.
Grace upon grace,