Moses hadn’t been away for very long when some of the Israelites approached Aaron and said, in effect, “We’re kind of tired of waiting for Moses. We need a god that we can worship. Remember all the gods of Egypt? We need a god we can reach out and touch.”
Aaron should have rebuked them and said, “You’re crazy! Worship the Lord! Look at all that He has done for you!” Instead he melted all the gold they brought to him and made it into a golden calf for them to worship.
This seems alien to us. How could this happen? It’s easier to do than we think. There were two phases to their idolatry. The first was more subtle and less obvious. The second was more blatant and radical. One will always grow out of the other.
The root of their open idolatry was the departure of their heart from the Lord and their leaning too much on God’s instrument, Moses. Their first idol was Moses, and their second was the golden calf.
We can make idols out of people we admire. Have you ever heard of a sports hero? What about American Idol? We may say somewhat jokingly, “I idolize that person” or “He is a guitar god” or “That person is a sports god.” But when we see the way some people behave, maybe that person really is a god to them.
We can do this in the church too. We can make an idol out of a man or woman of God, someone the Lord has used to bless us. News flash: They are human like you, and everyone will fail you in some way, shape, or form.
We don’t need idols. Let’s not make idols out of people. Let’s not make idols out of things.