While Moses was on the Mount getting divine direction as to how man can worship God, the people devised a "golden calf." This reveals man's human nature and verifies Isaiah 64:6 that "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.".
The golden calf stands as a symbol of human intellect devising a system of worship apart from God and His direction. The significance of Aaron's golden calf is that man, left to himself, will worship the works of his own hands. Can was the first example of such a deceitful heart. Not only did the children of Israel violate the graven image commandment that had just been given to them, but actually proclaimed a feast unto the Lord and offered burnt offerings. All of this was an abomination unto God.
Today, idolatry is still very prevalent in the world. Idolatry does not have to be a golden calf; it is anything we put before God. Many people are slaves to money, using money as their god; others use houses and lands; some sports, or even their families. But God's Word still resounds down through the years that we should have no other gods before us. We must obey God and Him only. It is always better to obey than to sacrifice. Jesus said, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" There is no substitute for obedience, and there is no substitute for the true and living God.
God-ordained leadership was very essential to the spiritual life of Israel, but while Moses was on the Mount, the majority of the people voted to dismiss him as their pastor. They preferred someone who would go along with their popular ideas, and Aaron made himself available and willingly cooperated to satisfy their lusts.
Today, we should pray for the men of God who faithfully preach the Word and have the courage to reprove, rebuke, and exhort (II Timothy 4:1-4). "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God...submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief" (Hebrews 13:7,17). Your pastor should be upheld in your daily prayers, that he might have the courage to be the servant of the Lord, and follow the leadership of God in every case; never the leadership of man.
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