The Object of Our Worship

  1. Message: In Exodus 32 Moses went up to the mountain to meet with God, and he left Aaron in charge. Aaron wasn’t just a babysitter. He had been with Moses and spoken on his behalf to Pharaoh through this entire process of freeing the people from Egypt. He and his sons had just been ordained as priests and we just read in the last chapter about the very distinguished robes made for them, and about the protocol for them going into the holy place to make sacrifices on behalf of the people. So when Moses went on the mountaintop to meet with God, he was trusted to lead the people. We don’t know how long Moses was gone, but the people got restless and told Aaron they needed him to make them gods to lead them. This idea was not new to them. They had lived in Egypt their entire lives and this was the culture they were used to so without Moses they were reverting back to familiar ways. When they asked Aaron to make them some gods he told them to bring the gold jewelry from the ears and noses of their wives and children and bring them to him. He melted it all down and created a golden calf. There is a lot to draw out of here, but what really caught my attention is that all of that gold jewelry they had came from Egypt because God gave them favor with their neighbors before they left. He had told the people to ask for it, and the people freely gave it to them. These were provisions given to them by God and they were intended to be used to worship God. Now they were worshipping the provisions in the form of a calf because they were left without good leadership and they returned to their former ways.
  2. Command: Follow and obey God.
  3. Promise: God is our provision and he will lead us well if we submit to him.
  4. Warning: When left to our own devices we will revert to old dysfunctional patterns of destruction.
  5. Application: What I really saw in this is our tendency to revert back to our dysfunction when we are not leading ourselves well because it’s familiar and feels normal to us. Even when we know it’s wrong. I also couldn’t help but notice that the object of their worship was created out of the provisions that God gave them. What was given to them by God’s favor literally became the object of their worship. When we read this we don’t think we would ever create a golden calf and worship it, but instead we create gods out of other things God has given us when they become the object of our affection of our time and of our passion. This could be a job, a family member, status or things. What we might see as responsibility or good stewardship becomes something more when we don’t allow God to lead us. I thought it was interesting that even though they knew God brought them out of Egypt, they immediately said “these are the gods that brought us out of Egypt” as soon as that calf was created. It sounds absurd but I might really know deep down that God provided for me financially, but then credit a job or my own hard work for my success. What I really took away from this reading was the importance of being led well. When we are not being led by God we will revert to our old dysfunction. Even when it doesn’t make sense.

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