In Exodus 32 Moses is up on the mountain talking with God and the people grow impatient. Aaron leads the people in crafting the golden calf that they then worship. There are a few words they use in reference to this calf that stuck out to me on my current rereading.
- First Aaron refers to the calf as the god(s) who brought them out of Egypt (verse 4). The word used here is the generic word for god, “Elohim”.
- Then in verse 5, he says there will be a festival to the LORD. He specifically uses the name we interpret as “Jehovah” here.
This is fascinating. They crafted something with their own hands and said it was God, not only in the generic term but in actuality the same God who brought them out of Egypt. They recreated God in what they wanted Him to be. I’ve heard it say that we don’t understand the nature and character of God that we will recreate him in our own image. They created one in the image of a calf. A calf would be one animal that was satisfactory to sacrifice in His name for the remission of sins. They took the thing that was to serve and worship God and started worshipping it. Where did they get the gold to melt down? It was the blessing they walked out of Egypt with. The very blessing of God allowed them to craft their own idol!
I can see parallels today. We often make the way we worship the thing we worship. When we fall in love with our methodology over the one we are called to worship, we craft our own golden calves. We worship our blessing more than our Creator. We use God’s name and title to justify our own foolish decisions when He isn’t even in it. We call things godly that aren’t godly.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise because we’re repeating the sin of Adam and Eve. What fruit did they take? They took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We are now constantly tempted with the fruit of redefining good and evil on our own terms. Since then people have continually called evil good and good evil. That’s not new, its as old as the garden.
I must pause to ask myself some questions in light of this.
- Where have I called good evil and evil good?
- What have I elevated to deity status in my life?
- What have I built that replaces the true work of God in my life?
- What have I, in vain, used God’s name to justify?
- Where have I worshiped the blessing God has given me?