Why a golden calf was chosen to be an object of worship?
That was the `million dollar’ question I asked myself when I read how the Israelites decided to find an object of worship when they could not wait for Moses to come down from the mountain. With the backdrop of how God had used Moses to bring Israel, a nation under slavery out of Egypt, witnessing mind blowing miracles like parting of the Red sea and many more, why would they want to worship another god?
I thought these people were more mind blowing in terms of how ridiculous their decisions were.
Here are the accounts of what happened:
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. 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.” – Exodus 32vs1 ESV
Aaron who was Moses’ brother and assistant acceded to the people’s request and asked them to hand over their gold rings (must have been quite a lot):
And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” – Exodus 32vs8 ESV
(What happened after this will be left for another discussion. For now, the focus will be on the golden calf.)
Aaron was the one who fashioned the people’s gold (a precious commodity) into the image of a calf so it looked like he decided on the object at whim and the people accepted whatever that came out from their contribution. The calf could have been inspired by their time in Egypt where their gods had animal-like figures or it was just a harmless creature. However, I think they just wanted something else to worship. Yes, something else.
This habit was found repeatedly over the years in the people of Israel. For example, Jeroboam, one of the kings, decided to make two golden calves to put one in Bethel and the other in Dan within the kingdom so that the people will be distracted from going back to their old allegiance and remain with him (1 Kings 12:26-33). Some other kings also kept this form of idol in their kingdom among other objects of worship:
But Jehu did not turn aside from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin—that is, the golden calves that were in Bethel and in Dan. – 2 Kings 10vs29 ESV
Here is further evidenced that the people not only wanted something else, the golden calves have also become a form of distraction from God.
The question I ask myself is, “What are the golden calves in my life?”
In other words, what is causing me to look away or be distracted from God?
The people in the biblical era were prone to their own ways and stubbornness but today, we are not spared from such distractions or attractions. The golden calves now comes in greater variety like digital and 3D and whatever that tickles the senses. However, I feel that the greatest distraction of all, especially in recent years will be our Golden Selves.