Wednesday, September 29, 2021
“And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 32:4 KJV).
Why is calf-worship so prevalent in Holy Scripture?
God directs Moses, on Mount Sinai, to return to the people below (verse 8): “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” The chapter continues: “ And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.  And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it….  [Aaron speaking to Moses] And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf….  And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.”
When Moses asked Aaron for an explanation, Aaron confessed he had done nothing more than take their gold, throw it into the fire, and a calf-idol “just appeared” (verse 24)! Imagine such foolishness! Some 40 years later, dying Moses reminds the new generation of Israelites of this terrible sin: “And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the LORD had commanded you…. And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mount” (Deuteronomy 9:16,21).
Was this a “one-time” transgression of Israel? No….