So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. (Exodus 32:3-4)
At Aaron’s bidding, the people removed their golden earrings and contributed to the building of an Egyptian icon. And so, as God was engraving His instructions upon the two tablets of stone, Aaron is graving an idol of gold. All of this in just a matter of a few weeks after the had agreed that they would have “no other gods” including images of living things. They had consented to do all that the LORD had commanded them in acknowledgment that He was the One who had brought them up out of Egypt. But upon the completion of this idol, they declared, “This is your god who brought you out of Egypt.”
There has long been a question as to their motive and why Aaron was, seemingly, quick to oblige them. Was is that they were so eager to worship an idol or was it something else? One rabbinic commentary states that, “The people did not intend to give up their allegiance to God; they desired a visible symbolic representation of the God who brought them out of Egypt.” Perhaps that is accurate but the reality is they did exactly what God told them not to do — they willingly mingled the holy with what is profane.
Frankly, this has continually plagued God’s people from the beginning until now. It happened in the garden when the man ate from the mingled tree of good and evil. Elijah confronted it on Mount Carmel citing the people’s willingness to worship both the God of Israel as well as Ba’al. Yeshua addressed it when He rebuked the Laodicean church for being lukewarm — a mixture of hot and cold. The point is, even if they hadn’t intended to worship an idol of Egypt but just wanted a visible representation the God Moses went to speak with on the mountain, they made a tragic error. Thus we are reminded that “there is a way that seems right unto man but the end thereof is death.”
As for this generation of believers, we can see this malady working its way through the Body once again. So many leaders, like Aaron, seem quick to acquiesce to the demands and desires of people. Too much of the world’s values and methods are integrated into our worship that it is often hard to tell the difference between God’s people and the world. Rather than buckling to what the masses want, we are charged with standing fast in the truth. Today, let us resolve within our hearts not to give in to the tendency to mingle the clean with the unclean but to resist the efforts of those who would. Our mission is to sanctify His Name in the earth and to be a truly set apart people. We must be faithful to that call.
Blessings and Shalom,