Linda Wood Rondeau

Preparing the Sacrifice

THE BANE OF THE ALTERNATIVE SACRIFICE
Tuesday, April 4, 2023 by Linda Wood Rondeau

Why do we seek alternatives to worshipping God in the way he desires us to? Do we as believers sometimes make mental golden calves because God’s way seems hard or unfruitful?

Moses had been on the mountain for a long time (see Exodus 32). Some feared he was dead and there was no leader. Naturally, they turned to Aaron and grumbled. True to their fickle nature, the Children of Israel feared God had abandoned them. “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him” (Exodus 32:1 NKJV).

A Golden Calf seemed like a reasonable substitute … the idol of many of the surrounding cultures.

We are not told what went through Aaron’s mind at this point.

Did he fear for his life if he didn’t give the people what they wanted? Did he seize the opportunity to lead in Moses’s place?

Perhaps he justified following the cry of the throng because he was only placating them, not truly believing in the idol himself. He may have reasoned, “After all, if giving them this idol calms them down, perhaps then I can talk some sense into them.”

So the people fashioned an idol from the gold they had brought from Egypt, and Aaron made an altar. Then they prepared their sacrifices and succumbed to the frenzy of idol worship.

We are quick to judge the Israelites and wonder how they could abandon the Lord so quickly after all he had done for them. Yet, we too seek alternatives to God’s ways because the world’s wisdom seems to make more sense. We put our desire for acclaim ahead of God’s purpose.

We become restless … looking for leadership, perhaps from our publisher or our self-publishing service, and “don’t know where he is.” When we turn from God’s direction, Satan is eager to fill the gap with advice sure to inflate our egos.

Aaron feared the people so he gave them the golden calf and said this is the image of the one who led you out of Egypt … worship this. “They said they were still worshipping the Lord but the calf was the symbol they looked up to..*

Perhaps they felt a temporary euphoria. But soon reality set in:

The calf had dragged them far away from God.

They misplaced the credit for their freedom on an inanimate object rather than on the living God.

Moses returned and interceded for the people. God offered forgiveness. Though there would be consequences for their sin, God continued to walk with his people. But many still clung to the alternative, not trusting the Lord. God purged the camp … the cost was death.

For the Christian author, we may find a temporary surge of pleasure from the world’s publishing wisdom; however, ultimately, our sacrifice will fail since we who are called his children have not followed his way.  

 

*Wm McDonald Thomas Nelson Believers Bible Commentary p.127

 

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