There are some people who would do away with the Old Testament, dismissing it as irrelevant or only for the Jews. While there certainly are things in there that were just for the Jews, or just for people in general at the time, or in the specific geographical locations at the time, there is so much more that truly is relevant to today. One of the scriptures I was thinking about recently is the story of the Golden Calf found in the book of Exodus.
Exodus 32: 1 – And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
So, what was going on here? Moses went up to the mountain and he was getting the Commandments, right from God, remember? He told them he was going up there, he told them he’d be back. He figured he could leave them alone for a little while without a big problem. Like we as parents might think we could leave our teenagers home for a bit without them trashing the house. Right? He didn’t say he’d be back next Tuesday at noon or anything, but he did say he’d be back. They were supposed to wait. They waited badly. That’s just human nature. The people he led out of Egypt were no different than we are today. They waited a little while, but then maybe figured he wasn’t coming back. Moses was no spring chicken and it was a hard trek up that mountain. So they figured they’d make an idol, so that they could see God, feel more connected to him that way. And they partied! And God told Moses what was going on, told him he’d better get back down there because people were actin’ a fool. So, Moses went back down, saw what was going on and there was a big bloody price paid for the way they waited.
So, what’s this got to do with us?
Moses led people out of the slavery of Egypt. Jesus leads us out of the slavery of sin. Moses went up the mountain to talk with God and said he’d be back. Jesus ascended into Heaven to be back with the Father, and he said he was going to prepare a place for us before coming back to get us.
Are we waiting any better for Jesus’ return? Or are we saying to ourselves that he’s taking an awfully long time to return? Are we making idols for ourselves here while we wait? Are we trying to make God more like US instead of trying to change our character to reflect Jesus? What are some of the idols we’ve created? Are they our churches and the way we worship? Are we worshipping Popes and Pastors and televangelists? Are we making idols of our jobs and possessions and titles and accomplishments?
There were high consequences when Moses returned. Should we expect less when Jesus returns?