The Sin of the Golden Calf
Exodus 32 (English Standard Version) 1When the people saw that Moses(A) delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him,(B) “Up, make us gods who shall(C) go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2So Aaron said to them, “Take off the (D) rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4(E) And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden[a] calf. And they said,(F) “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron(G) made proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.”
The sin of the Golden Calf reveals the base nature of mankind to do things according to his own logic and desire. We find in the scripture an established pattern of mankind’s progression to sin. Today we will see how these patterns still exist in mankind. Once we see how we are able to transgress the Laws of God through our human logic, we can avert sin or identify that we have sin and bring ourselves to repentance.
I. The pattern established
The world was created with the fullness of God being fully revealed. The sin in the garden separated man from God’s sacred space.
a. The Logic of Adam and Eve.
- Be like Elohyim.
Genesis 3:5 (New International Version) 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
- We will see as God.
- We won’t die.
b. Adam and Eve’s sin separated them from the Garden.
c. From that point mankind was given the opportunity to bring the Creator into their sacred space through righteousness.
II. The pattern repeated
The Exodus story is a rebirth of God dwelling with man. He calls out His own through redemption. He showed Himself to the people. His glory descended upon the mountain. A covenant is made and an agreement was reached between the people and the Creator. Once again the chosen ones grow impatient with their revelation and seek a way to fulfill their needs. Let make us an אֱלֹהִים Elohyim – a leader, master, judge or god. Those making this argument were using human logic for this argument. God told Moses that he will be an elohyim:
Exodus 7:1 (New International Version) 1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like god to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.
a. Here is their human logic:
- Moses is our mediator between us and God.
- Moses is not with us.
- God already gave us instructions on building Him a Tabernacle with a mercy seat of Gold.
- Since Moses is not with us then we should get us another elohyim –leader master judge to hear from God.
- They build a golden calf to worship for the sake of Ha’shem.
b. The core of sin is man’s desire to fill his own needs.
III. The Pattern Revealed
a. Our sin always springs from the mind of human logic.
James 1:14-16 (English Standard Version) 14But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15Then desire (A) when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and (B) sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.
b. Our sin not only affects us but those around us.
- This sin affected all in the camp even though it was not the whole camp that participated in the sin.
- 3000 participated in the act but the rest of the camp had sin attributed to them as well.
Exodus 32:28-29 (ESV) 28The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died. 29 Then Moses said, “You have been set apart to the LORD today, for you were against your own sons and brothers, and he has blessed you this day.”
c. There is a remedy for sin.
Exodus 34:6-7 (New International Version, ©2010) 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”