When one ventures upon Exodus 32, they arrive at the base of Mount Siani. Encamped there is a young nation, the nation Israel. Israel was young in reference to their freedom and their faith. Their incredible leader, Moses, is up on the mountain with God, and had remained there for forty days. This time of waiting was a test and they failed miserably.
The congregation of people who were encamped around the boundary of the mount became restless. “When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mount” (Exodus 32:1). This reveals that they had a time table in mind and neither God or Moses did abide by their expectations. God had told the elders what to do during Moses’ absence (Exodus 24:14), so their statement, “we know not what has become of him” (Exodus 32:1) was untrue. They failed.
The nature of sin is to wax worse and worse. Such was the case in this account. The restlessness turned into reviling. One can ascertain the attitude toward Gods leader in their disrespectful address about him… “As for this Moses”, one can hear the disdain and sense their despicable disposition toward the man. This was a revelation of their evil heart.
Continuing in the terrible trend, the Israelites went from restless, to reviling, and finally into full blown rebellion. The very first commandment they heard with their own ears just a few weeks earlier (Exodus 20:4-5), they broke. They made an inexcusable decision to spit in the face of Moses and God. This revealed the insincerity of their response, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8).
God has always needed men with backbones to stand up and lead. Aaron failed miserably at this juncture. Instead of pointing out the wrong and getting the people on track…He took up an offering of gold to aid these rebels in this disastrous act. He took the gold, melted it down and fashioned it into a calf, more accurately a young bull. Aaron carried out the wishes of the people and was probably flattered at their admiration of his creation.
As was mentioned before, sin gets worse and worse. With this account, such is the case. Aaron built an altar before this idol and all the people dishonored themselves and God by becoming drunk and involving themselves in sexually immoral acts. They had a party, better known as an orgy. This is what the phrase, “And they rose up to play” (Exodus 32:6) is referencing. This reveals the depths of the depravity the devil is able to lead man into, in a hurry. When the young and the restless get together and fail to wait on the Lord, the devil will arouse their basest passions and some may involve themselves in the unthinkable.
This kind of thing is what has been phrased as, “Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, cost you more than you wanted to pay, and keep you longer than you wanted to stay.” But, through all of this, the mercy, love, and grace of God shines ever bright.
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