When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered round Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’
Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” Exodus 32:1, 7-8 (NIV)
Moses had been up the mountain for forty days, so you couldn’t really blame the Israelites for thinking he wasn’t coming back. They had probably been looking for his return each day, but as time wore on they became less and less convinced that he would return.
What they did next showed that they weren’t in tune with God and what he wanted for their lives. They said to Aaron:
Come, make us gods who will go before us (v1).
Aaron went with the crowd and fashioned a golden calf as the focus for the Isaelites to worship. Having made the golden calf, the Israelites worshipped and sacrificed to it and then had a party.
Moses, however, wasn’t dead and when God told him what was happening in the Israelite camp, he returned to find the people celebrating. At this point Moses was furious! He burned the golden calf, ground it down into a powder, mixed it with water and made the Israelites drink it. What a punishment!
Applying this to our own lives, it is easy to think that just because you have prayed faithfully for a long time and are waiting for God to act, that you begin to think it is all taking too long. Maybe you even believe that God hasn’t been listening to your prayers. The Israelites weren’t prepared to wait, yet God had promised to bless them. His faithfulness was their guarantee. God’s faithfulness is our guarantee too.
Waiting is not impassive. It is expectant and excited – trusting God for the answer, while not knowing when and how he will answer.
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