Calfves of Gold
When Moses failed to come back down the mountain right away, the people went to Aaron. “Look,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. This man Moses, who brought us here from Egypt, has disappeared. We don’t know what has happened to him.” So Aaron said, “Tell your wives and sons and daughters to take off their gold earrings, and then bring them to me.” All the people obeyed Aaron and brought him their gold earrings. Then Aaron took the gold, melted it down, and molded and tooled it into the shape of a calf. The people exclaimed, “O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!”
— Exodus 32:1-4 NLT
This is probably not the first Bible story you would think of reading for a Christmas devotional! What does the golden calf at Sinai have to do with God’s gift of Jesus? At first, this has nothing to do with Christmas. But it actually does! The people had lost sight of Moses, and in turn, God. So what do they do? They attempt to find a substitute. As a result, they end up worshipping the golden statue of a calf! Livestock was their economic security of that day. If you owned cattle, then you definitely wanted lots of calves. Calves were synonymous with a growing market! But they worshipped more than just a calf. The statue was also made of gold! Gold has never gone out of style—even today! In essence, what those people were worshipping was their money.
That is not simply an Israelite problem either. Anything we love, desire, or care about more than God, is what we worship. Do you find yourself thinking about how much happier this Christmas season would be if you had more money? “If I only had money, then I could enjoy worshipping God this Christmas.” “If I only had a job, then I could enjoy worshipping God this Christmas.” “If I only had more economic security, then I could enjoy worshipping God this Christmas.” Do we still look for substitutes of worship even today?
Modern idolatry can only be cured when we begin to experience a greater view of God. As we experience God in Scripture and nature, we realize that He alone can provide the security to meet our needs. God alone is worthy of our worship! Anything else we worship is as empty and vain as golden calves.
Updated: Dec 2, 2011