15 October 2023
Mr. Dan Culbertson
Moses climbed up the mountain to meet with YHWH, or Yahweh as it is often written; in other words, with God. On the seventh day God's glory descended on the mountain in fire. No wonder the people thought that Moses was a goner! Up on the mountain, Moses was getting instructions on how to collect freewill offerings for the people to make a tabernacle and a golden box for the covenant. Down below the people were collecting gold.
On the mountain Moses was being told that the people must "Have no other gods but me." Down below they were demanding an idol. Up above Moses was receiving instructions on how Aaron, the High priest, and the other priests should lead the people in worship. Down below Aaron was caving in to their demands to make an idol of a calf.
Why did they do it?
A calf idol was a common sight in Egypt where they had come from and in Canaan where they were going. If given a choice between following a God who consumed mountains in fire and a familiar idol, they chose the one they thought they could have some control and influence over.
YHWH, had no interest in that kind of relationship, he wanted a people who knew Him and would deal with Him according to his self-revelation. Moses exemplified that person as he interceded for Israel, reminding YHWH that the people didn't belong to Moses, that they didn't belong to a calf but that they belonged to YHWH himself. We are also invited to accept God on his terms and to intercede for others as we remind God (and ourselves) whose we are.