I’m reading through Exodus right now and just got to the Israelites making the golden calf, aka one of the most tragically amusing stories in the Bible.
Can you picture how this happens? Moses is up on Mount Sinai, talking to God, getting a divinely transcribed copy of all the laws the people already agreed to obey—the first and second items on the list being not worshiping idols. So he climbs down from the mountain…and he finds the people worshiping a golden calf. (Full story in Exodus 32.)
“Guys, I was gone for, like, a month! Will someone please explain what happened here?”
And Aaron shuffles forward and blurts out the first thing that comes to mind: “They said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall go before us.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” (That, my friends, is a word-for-word ESV quote. Didn’t even have to exaggerate that one.)
Awkward silence. Moses stares at his brother. Aaron starts to sweat a little. Then Moses Hulk-smashes the Ten Commandments and goes on an idol-destroying rampage that includes a plague, a Levite posse, and making the people eat the ground-up ashes of their own idol. Seriously.
Here’s what we learn from this story, guys (besides the fact that you should never tick Moses off):
Idols don’t just happen. (more…)