Have you ever been home when someone you love has gone out, and it’s way past the time they should have come back? Odds are you get worried. You might even think something terrible has happened and you’ll never see them again.
Well that’s what happened with the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai.
The people began to realize that Moses was taking a long time to come down from the mountain. They gathered around Aaron and said to him, we have no idea what happened to Moses.
So what did they do? They said to themselves: we need a God and Moses isn’t around, so we’ll build our own. They gathered all their gold earrings (everyone wore them, including kids). They gave them to Aaron and they said to him: “Make us a god.”
Of course, this was against the Second Commandment:
You shall not make or worship any idols
Now everybody had already heard Moses recite the Ten Commandments (in Yitro). So they should have known better.
But they didn’t.
Aaron took all the rings and made a gold statue of a calf. Then everybody sang and danced around it.
God was REALLY angry. He sent a plague and a lot of people died.
Moses was angry too. He burned up the golden calf, threw the gold dust in the water and made everyone drink the water
But Moses also intervened with God. God wanted to “blot out” everyone, but Moses said “You can’t just destroy everyone in this desert, after you went to the trouble of bringing them out of Egypt.”
Food for Thought
“Now he gave to Moses tablets of stone, written by the
finger of God.”
1. Does God really have a finger, like you and me? If not, what do you picture “the finger of God” to mean?
2. It surely took a while to fashion the golden calf. Meanwhile, Moses was up on the mountain, watching God write down the 10 Commandments. Why do you think it took God so long to write them down?
3. “You shall not make or worship any idols”
In the story there’s an actual statue. Are there other kinds of idols that people worship? Perhaps not physical statues, but other less touchable things?