“And he, (Aaron) received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” (Exodus 32:4)
The Israelites had a miraculous delivery from their bondage in Egypt. They received the protection and provision of God during the Exodus. He led them to Mt. Sinai to receive His laws. They were people living in the midst of a miracle on their way to the Promised Land.
How did they respond? They worshiped a golden calf as their god. In the midst of their freedom from bondage, they lost sight of the miracles performed by Almighty God in their lives. When we read of this how can we not be incredulous? What could those people have been thinking to react that way?
But if we are honest – are we really any different? Miraculously brought out of the bondage of our “Egypt” and drawn by His Spirit to Mt. Calvary (justification); led through our wilderness journey by the power of His Spirit (sanctification), and now on our way to the ultimate Promised Land (glorification). We have witnessed His life-changing power in dramatic ways. How often do we lose sight of the God who delivered us? How many “golden calves” have we molded to stand in His place? I have to confess to being very much like those Israelites when the journey bogs down or gets perilous. How often and how quickly I find myself reaching for the engraving tool.
When Moses returned from the mountaintop and saw the golden calf he “burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder; and he scattered it on the water and made the children of Israel drink it.” (Exodus 32:20) You might say Moses made sure the golden calf got completely eradicated. We need to do the same with anything that takes the place of God in our lives.