Have you ever found yourself thinking that God could never do ______? The blank could be any number of things. The mysteries that we wrestle with as we experience the brokenness of people. The childhood illness, the unexplained death, the seemingly restrictive framework of morality. All these can lead us to question the nature of our Creator.
In the Exodus narrative we read of Moses leading the Israelites out of captivity from the Egyptians. God heard the cry of his people and sent Moses to lead them out from Egypt. They are miraculously led as God passes over them and leads them through the Red Sea. It is an infinitely rich story full of truths pointing ultimately to Jesus the great passover lamb.
After the exodus, God begins to speak to the people in powerful ways. We read of one such encounter, “and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.” - Exodus 24:10 Take a moment and imagine the majesty of this experience. Right there in the midst of it was Aaron, Moses brother, seeing the sapphire stone with his own eyes.
We might think that this encounter alone would set Aaron straight for the rest of his days. That a holy reverence for God would be so engrained upon him that he would never disobey. And yet just a little later Aaron is leading the disobedience. We pick up the story in Exodus 32.
“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for 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.”
And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.
Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” - Exodus 32:1-4
“When Moses delayed.” Have you ever felt like God did not come through on time? Has a person you looked to not showed up when you needed them? The people and Aaron’s response reveals something to us of human nature. In the gaps we want to make God in our own image. We want to make a golden calf. Something we can look at that led us out of a difficult time but something that we can always explain and something fashioned by us.
The creator of the heavens and the earth is not contained in the creations of man. When we attempt to do so we create something false in which there is no life. Instead God desires to imprint his image on our hearts and our minds. This was the purpose for which Jesus came that God’s Spirit might be welcomed into our hearts and minds.
The writer of Hebrews reminds of us the words from the prophet Jeremiah saying, “No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” - Hebrews 8:11
As we approach this upcoming Easter season may we consider deeply the work of Jesus and be reminded that God’s ways are higher than ours. Let us not lower ourselves to the fashioning of idols, instead let us lift our eyes to the creator of the heavens and the earth and embrace his son Jesus Christ.