According to tradition, it was on this day that Aaron fashioned the Golden Calf. It’s recorded in Exodus 32:
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he 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 32:1-4)
Having studied this extensively, it seems to me that the people’s intention wasn’t so much about worshiping an Egyptian god as much as it was about using something they were familiar with to represent the God who Moses was speaking to on the mountain. The fact that Aaron calls for a feast unto the Lord with burnt offerings seems to underscore this. If this is correct, the people’s sin was mingling the profane with the holy. Furthermore, because their frustration at not knowing why Moses was delayed prompted them to do this, in effect, their impatience led them to worship the image of a beast – that’s interesting.
Because of Aaron’s participation, perhaps some of the people were misled into thinking they were worshipping the one true God by paying homage to this idol of gold. Regardless of how they justified it, they still ended up doing exactly what God told them not to do. He said they were not to make graven images of anything that’s in the earth, the skies or in the sea. But they decided it would be acceptable if that graven image was intended to represent the God of Israel.
This is same snare the Adversary has used to deceive God’s people with from the very beginning. In the garden, he seduced the woman with mixed fruit (Good and Evil) and she decided it would be okay which led to Adam’s sin. From that day to now, Satan continues to use the same tactic. I would add that there is no reason for him to abandon that ploy seeing that it has been so successful. From the beginning, our enemy has always used something that appeared to be good to lead us astray and it almost always works. Just 2,000 years ago, the wayward congregation of Laodicea was dealing with this same issue and were rebuked for being lukewarm, which is to say that they were neither hot nor cold, but a mixture of the two. And if Laodicea is a prototype of the end time church, as so many believe, then we should conclude that the Adversary’s tactics are still working for him, even today.
According to Peter, you and I are considered to be a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and a holy or set apart nation. We are called to “show forth the praises of Him” who has called us out of darkness into light. If we are to live up to that calling, we must be alert and aware of what the Adversary does in order to seduce us away from the truth. If we are going to continue living that set apart life in a way that pleases our Father, we must not succumb to the desire to be like everybody else. If we are His, we are not going fit in and be acceptable to the nations.
As His people, we have a choice to make. Will we serve Him voluntarily because we love Him or will we suffer His chastening because we decided to mingle the holy with the profane in deference to the nations? If we’re going to serve Him with our whole hearts and be a set apart people, then we must understand that we can’t honor Him our way; there is a proper way to worship Him. Just because something appears “good” doesn’t mean it won’t end in death. Furthermore, if we wish to please Him with our worship, then we should present it with a willing heart.
Let us ask the Father to help us to discern and distinguish the light and darkness and between the holy and profane. This is not just for our benefit, but also for the benefit of those who are still in darkness. We can’t be a light to the nations if we are acting like the nations and if we’re not careful we can be easily lured into doing just that. Israel became frustrated when Moses didn’t return when they thought he should and, consequently, they ended up worshipping the image of a beast, thinking they were worshipping God. Be wary that we do not grow weary in well doing. Let us continue to be steadfast in our commitment to our Father and wait patiently for the Messiah. While we’re waiting, let’s continue being a light.