When the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, “Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt—who knows what’s happened to him?” (Exodus 32:1 The Message)
Moses has been on the mountain for a long time. Where is he? What is he doing up there? More to the point, what is God doing? The people are impatient, begin doubting and feel they need something more tangible to hold on to. So, they ask Aaron to make them a god who will be there and lead them. After all, with Moses AWOL how were they to know whether God was still interested in them?
The people rejected God because they didn’t think he was doing anything for them, but was that true? Moses had been gone for quite a while, but he had been receiving instructions from God for the people; instructions that, if followed, would result in the people’s well-being. Far from being inactive, God was preparing for them one of his greatest blessings, the Tent of Meeting, which will be the centre of Israel’s worship of God, yet the people can’t see it. All they saw was that Moses wasn’t there and nothing was happening. They could have recalled God’s amazing faithfulness to them by bringing them out Egypt and providing for them in the desert, realising that God would continue to care for them, but they didn’t. Instead, responding to the people’s demands, Aaron instructs them to tear off the gold rings in their ears, and he makes a golden calf. God had given the people the gold in the first place when they plundered Egypt, and he had plans to use gold in the construction of the Tent of Meeting. The people, gifted by God for service to him, instead used those gifts to build another god and in the process rejected him.
The danger for us is that we can all too easily follow the same path as those Israelites. Sometimes we can wonder where God is and what is he doing and end up missing what he has for us by turning away from him to our own idols. We too can find ourselves using our God-given resources, whether it be money, talents, or spiritual gifts, in misguided efforts to satisfy our own needs, instead of worshipping God. However, if we trust in his faithfulness and worship him while we wait, eventually we’ll see that God alone is the one who will ultimately meet all our needs.
Father, great is your faithfulness shown to us on another mountain. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus in worship, as we wait on you and trust you all the days of our life.
Have a good week trusting in God’s faithfulness.