“So the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb.”
– Exodus 33:6
Regarding Moses, the Hebrews in the wilderness said, “we do not know what has become of him.” Moses was up on the mountain, talking with God. However, the people did not know why he was taking so long up on the mountain. As a result, they began drawing their own conclusions. Conclusions based on feelings and emotions and not derived from fact. What they could not see or explain caused their minds to wonder and their hearts to wander.
The people were discouraged and wanted to see something that would give them encouragement. They pressured Aaron, the man left in charge at the moment, to help them in this venture. Aaron had everyone provide the gold they had on them, and he made them a golden calf. It tells us that Aaron “fashioned it with an engraving tool.” There was no doubt a god was formed with human hands, and the people began to worship it. Not only did they worship it as their god, but the service they held to it also became a party of pleasure for themselves.
As Christ-followers, we often wonder why Jesus is delayed in His promise to return for us. In our waiting, we can become discouraged. In our discouragement, we can begin to draw conclusions based on feelings and emotions as our minds and hearts open to wander. It is during these seasons in life that we can begin to fashion our own gods that we can physically see, and that bring us temporary pleasure.
It is vitally essential for the believer to remember God’s Word! Remember what His Word says: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt.28:20). The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2Peter 3:9). “I will come again and receive you to Myself” (John 14:3).
The people that finally made a decision for God and repented, were stripped of their gold once more. This time was different, though. Rather than taking their gifts and fashioning a god for themselves, they would give them up to God. The very thing that at one time took the place of the true God and provided temporary pleasure was taken from them, and they handed it over. That is always a great thing for the believer. What false god have you fashioned in your life that needs to be handed over to the Lord?
“If we are willing to give up only the wrong things for Jesus, let us never talk about being in love with Him. Anyone will give up the wrong things if he knows how. But are we prepared to give up the best we have for Jesus Christ? The only right a Christian has is the right to give up his rights.”
– J. Oswald Sanders