My reading today was Exodus 32. Moses has been on the mountain with God, hearing the instructions for the tabernacle & receiving the stone tablets. The people below, who’d seen the smoke above & heard the thunder &, that very morning, filled their bellies with bread from heaven,

decided Moses & that God above were taking too long. They needed a god below who would get with it. Get with them. Get them where they wanted to go. So they gathered around Aaron & said, “Come, make gods for us!” The same Aaron of Ex 24 who’d been invited by God to see the very
pavement beneath God’s feet. Aaron & his sons & the 70 elders, “saw Him and they ate and drank.” That Aaron. So he tells them in Ex 32, Bring me your gold & let’s see what I can do. He fashions it into the image of a calf & they present it to Israel in wording shudderingly
blasphemous. “Israel, these are your gods, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Over and over God has reminded them not to forget who had brought them out. Perhaps this started making Aaron a little nervous. Or maybe it didn’t. Maybe he just bought in. But his next move
is particularly telling. “When he saw this (the masses reacting to the gold idol he’d fashioned for them), he built an altar in front of it and made an announcement: ‘there will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow.’ Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings &
fellowship offerings.” Don’t miss the very next statement in the narrative: “The people sat down to eat and drink (sound familiar? Ex 24:11?) and got up to party.”

It’s a story as old as the exodus. God gets us out but He’s too slow taking us where we want to go.
So we demand idols of our leaders and they supply. And then, because we’re supposed to be a religious people, they front it with worship. They (we?) build an altar to the God above in front of the idol below like God either won’t notice or won’t mind then they have a festival
of worship. And the people sit down to eat and drink. Chillingly reminiscent of Aaron and his sons and the elders sitting down to eat and drink at the feet of God.

And it all works well. It’s all been rolled together. The God above and the idol below. The people demanded it.
The leaders supplied it. Surely God is happy that they worked him in.

Only problem is, God saw right through that front. And He was not that happy after all.

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