So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play (Exodus 32:5-6)
Yesterday we mentioned how, through the ages, God’s people have consistently struggled with mingling things that are holy with what is unclean and profane. The Golden Calf may, in fact, be the most prominent example of this failure, second only to Adam’s willingness to eat from the mixed Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The fact that Aaron, who fashioned the idol, calls for a feast unto the LORD even as the people are preparing to revel around this image underscores this. It was a terrible decision by all concerned and led to great destruction.
We cannot overlook the fact that Aaron, to a large degree, participated in this or at least allowed it happen. Some rabbinical writers try to put in the best light possible, arguing that Aaron did this because he was a lover of peace — he didn’t want the camp to erupt into a battleground between two factions. Jewish tradition also teaches that Hur had been killed by this mob and so Aaron relented in order to buy time. Of course, these details are not recorded for us in Scripture, but for the sake of the argument, let us consider this as possible. If true, this teaches that we should never acquiesce to a mob mentality and, if we are going to offend someone, it doesn’t need to be God.
In today’s world, people aren’t necessarily pushing for a god of gold to lead them but there is an insistence on the part of the world system for people to comply with the prevailing mindset in that system — a mindset that is extremely offensive to the Creator. Lest some of God’s people be tempted to think that if we do thus and such– if we simply concede on this one thing — it will temper their aggression, think again. If Aaron thought that his contribution to the people’s rebellion would turn out alright, he was terribly disappointed.
Let’s not make the same mistake; we should never give into the mob mentality because, first of all, it’s wrong and, secondly, the mob will never be satisfied. The world doesn’t want peace with God’s people — the world wants us to concede piece after piece until they have subjugated us completely. It is our duty to stand fast in the truth of God’s Word against the aggressive nature of a godless worldview. As for, I will hold to the conviction that, if I find myself in a place were I have to choose between offending man or offending God, I will offend man. How about you?
Blessings and Shalom,