Golden Calf Religion - Exodus 32

Golden Calf Religion

Exodus 32:1-35

Moses had gone up into the mountain to meet with the Lord.  The people grew impatient, as they waited for their leader to return.  This bunch of chronic complainers went to Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods (or a god) that shall go before us...."  So the newly appointed high priest made a molded calf from golden earrings, which were freely given to him by the people.  Thus we have the birth of the golden calf religion.

First and foremost, it was manmade.  The children of Israel made the god of their choice.  It was their creation.  In contrast Christianity is based upon the revelation of God in the written Word, the Bible, and the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.  This revelation is foundational to the Christian faith.  Every world religion is based upon the teaching of some man, and is therefore manmade.  Those who call themselves Christians but deny the revelation of God are followers of a manmade religion, and are Christians only in name.

Golden calf religion demands a tangible expression of faith, usually in the form of an idol.  Those who worship at the shrine of the golden calf want a god that they can see.  For them seeing is believing.  Aaron and company said, "This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt."  They were saying, "Take a look!  Isn't it awesome?" 

Religion always has its own routine and requirements.  When Aaron saw the golden calf, he decided that it needed an altar, so he built one.  Then he made an astounding proclamation, saying, "Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord."  To the Lord?  The next morning the people rose up early, and "offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."  The golden calf religion was a lot of fun at the time.

It conjures up the miraculous.  Later, Moses asked Aaron what he had done.  Aaron told Moses that the golden calf was the result of a miracle.  He said that the people gave him their golden earrings.  When he threw them into the fire, "this calf came out."  Golden calf religion always lays claim to miracles.  There is a great difference between the miraculous and the ridiculous.

But what is its end?  Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on the Lord's side---come to me!"  That day three thousand men were killed by the sword.  But there was more.  "So the Lord plagued the people, because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made."

 

Almighty God, Thank You for the truth as it is revealed in Your holy Word.  We have chosen to be on Your side.  Guide us in our worship of You.  Keep us from idols.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!

 

The Promise of God's Presence - Exodus 33

 
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