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Moses was busy with God up on the mountain getting all the commands of His Covenant of Rules written on two stones. Moses was gone for a LONG time! 40 days and 40 nights!
The people got impatient and thought Moses was taking too long to come back, so they gathered around Aaron and cried, “Aaron, please make us some idols to be our gods to lead us because we don’t know what happened to Moses.”
Seriously? These same people have been fussing and fighting God’s decision-making and leadership through Moses almost the whole trip. And now they are fussing because he’s not there to lead them! And they want a piece of lifeless carved metal to follow instead of God! This is NOT smart!
Aaron knew that making fake idol gods would disobey God’s first two rules. But Aaron seemed to be doubting whether Moses was coming back or not, too. And he was afraid to stand up and say “NO” to the people. That’s called cowardice, and being cowardly does not make God happy. Instead of standing up for God and speaking out against the people wanting an idol to worship, Aaron made them one!
“Give me all your gold jewelry,” Aaron told them. Then he melted down the gold and made a golden cow statue out of it and gave it to the people.
They said, “Here is the god that brought us out of Egypt. Follow this golden cow statue.”
That’s Crazy! And it gets worse! Instead of Aaron saying, “NO WAY! That’s not true!” Aaron tried to just add some of God’s things on top of their golden cow worship!
He thought, “God likes for us to offer sacrifices to Him on an altar… So, I’ll build an altar to go in front of the golden cow. And God talked about having parties to celebrate things He had done, so I’ll declare a party for Yahweh.”
Aaron was trying to add things for God (like an altar and a party) on top of his cowardice cow-making. This is bad. You can’t just add God over the top of rebellion and disobedience.
That is not ok! Yet people still try to do the same things today. They try to mix “giving” or “sacrifice” with false gods and idols of selfishness or sin. But you can’t mix false idol-worship with worship to Yahweh, the One True God.
And we’re not just talking about “parties.” When you know you are doing something bad but don’t want to change, you can be tempted to try to mix your uncrushed idols (remember what we said idols were in the 10 rules) with something “good” or “of God” to try to make it seem ok. Like when you really want to take a toy from another child so you pretend to be “giving” them something else so that they will put down the toy you want. But, if you have ugliness in your heart, you can’t try to cover it up by putting something “good” on top of the bad.
It’s like trying to make a nice meal for someone with some yummy chicken, and macaroni and cheese, and a delicious cupcake, but then putting that all on a big plate of doggie poo-poo. That’s disgusting. That’s awful. And no one wants to look at, smell, touch and certainly not taste ANY food mixed with a pile of doggie poo.
Would you eat it? Would you say, “I’m just going to eat the good stuff, and I’ll pick around the poo. I won’t eat THAT part.” No way! That’s still nasty, isn’t it?
And if someone tried to give you that plate as a “sweet gift,” you wouldn’t accept it, would you? No, that would be a disgusting insult. So, don’t ever ask God to “accept” disgusting and awful idol worship alongside words of “praise” or “sacrifice” to Him, ok?
But Aaron declared the party, and the next day the people started partying and dancing and singing around their false gold cow. Oh, how mean to God after all He had done for them!
Go to the next story to hear what happens next…