And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
We’ve looked at some of the epic fails of the people of God before, and here’s another one. Moses to go up to talk with God, the people grow weary of waiting for him, and then Moses’ own brother attempts to make them happy by making an idol. Fail, fail, fail.
By this point, the people had seen all that God had done to Egypt to win their freedom with the plagues. They walked through the Red Sea, parted by God, to escape their enemies. God has brought them water from a rock, given them victory in battle, and given them meat and bread from nothing. In short, they have every reason to believe in God and do what He says.
And off they go, making and worshipping an idol. Aaron, the man to be the head priest for God, helps them out. What a problem!
Of course, we would never be so lame as to recognize some blessing from God and then go out an immediately do something in opposition to His will… Or would we? If Israel would do so after all of these miracles, how likely is it you and I will do the same? It is so easy to be distracted and to forget God. There are things to do and people to see and stuff to buy. And surely it won’t hurt anything to look at that one thing or do this other thing that may perchance include something God isn’t a fan of. What’s the harm? We’re just as dense as they are.
And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.
Moses showed the true power of their new God. It was easily destroyed and then even consumed by its “followers.” The power of this world has no power over us next to the power of the true God.