• William T. Howe Ph.D.

January 28, 2021

Daily Reading: Exodus 30-32

Exodus 32:35

And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Got the picture? Moses is on Mount Sinai receiving the commandments from God that would govern the lives of the Hebrews. He was on that mountain for forty days and nights as related in Exodus 24:18. In his absence Aaron, his brother, was with the people waiting. They waited, waited, and waited, for over a month they waited. They must have feared that Moses, and Joshua who was with him, met an untimely death, because when they saw that Moses was gone for so long they gathered themselves together and demanded that Aaron make them gods that would go before them.

Aaron capitulated. In other words he did not resist their demands. He made them a molten calf from the gold they provided. In the concluding verse of this sordid story in the history of Israel, the Bible makes an unusual statement: ...they made the calf, which Aaron made. They, the people, made the calf in their mind. How soon they forgot the parting of the Red Sea, the manna, the quail, and other great and notable miracles of their God by the hand of Moses. Could it be that they looked at the man of God rather than looking at the God of the man? No doubt the trappings of the idol worship they experienced in Egypt polluted their minds. So, they made a calf, yet Aaron formed the thing for them.

They made the calf from their own resources, their gold. Once made, they worshipped it, sang unheard of songs to it, and danced around it unclothed until Moses returned. He knew of their carrying-on, for God Almighty told him of it. Upon his return Moses dealt with this false god swiftly and decisively. He dealt with Aaron. And he asked the question of questions that God's people must continually answer in their hearts if nowhere else. He asked a question that echoes down through the ages. As a whisper in the wind through the canyons of the heart, or as a thunderclap of reality that strikes in our soul, the question continues to be asked today. That question is Who is on the Lord's side? (Exodus 32:26) The Levites were on the Lord's side. This priestly tribe, of whom Aaron belonged, made it clear. They stood for the Lord, not the calf.

Because of this sad tale of idol worship, many died, and the people were plagued. All because they made a calf, that Aaron made. Let us beware.

Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.

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