Easily Led Astray

Exodus 32:4–6 (ESV)

"And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”  When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play."

When I read this section of Israel’s journey, I cannot help but be amazed at how impatient a people they were! They just witnessed the miracles of God in their deliverance from Egypt and felt the presence of the lord at Mt. Sinai, yet here they are abandoning God because they hadn’t seen Moses in a while. It was not that long ago (Exodus 24:5) that they were commanded by the Lord to keep His covenant, yet they quickly strayed into an idolatrous state in violation of both the first and second commandments (Exodus 20:3-6).

The apostle Paul reminds us in his first letter to the Corinthians that it is not enough just to be numbered among God’s people, but we must also exhibit loyalty and faithfulness to His Word and avoid mixing pagan practices into our lives (1 Corinthians 10:7). Here we see a nation that seemed more focused on the leadership of Moses than on their true leader, Yahweh, and when the leader could no longer be seen, an alternative was required and it was Aaron who led the way.

While it is incredulous that they would wander so quickly, it dawned on me, are we much different today? Can we see ourselves in the actions of Aaron?

Aaron gave in to the people—that was his first mistake—but willingly took the gold, fashioned, and made the golden idol (Exodus 32:2-4). Despite his priestly lineage, Aaron was persuaded to act against his own testimony. This needs to be an example for us that even the most devout Christian is not immune to all temptations. Every one of us has a particular weakness, some just hide it better than others. Paul wrote about his own struggles in Romans 7:18-20, of which I am sure most of us can relate to—I certainly can. In essence, Paul asked the question, “Why do we keep doing the things we know we shouldn’t?”

For us, leaving behind a secular lifestyle is not always easy. Whether it is time spent with old friends drinking in bars or spending time in other relationships that go against God’s Word, giving up that kind of pleasure can be challenging for some. Yet, we cannot be on the fence about such actions. We cannot have a foot in both worlds and expect God to understand and give His blessing.

Aaron designed a worship to meet the personal needs of the people in verses 5-6. We see similar activities today in churches all over the world. Wishing not to offend, many churches are relaxing their moral teachings to be more inclusive, thus diluting the message of God until it is no longer recognizable. Sin is not a topic to be discussed, but rather a central focus on God’s love and His mercies dominate the messages from the pulpit. Thus, the trappings of universalism are given birth.

I am blessed to be a part of a church where Hell is still preached and sin is called sin, and I pray you are too. If not, leave and go find one. Do not allow yourself to be led astray.