The Golden Calf — Really?

Deuteronomy 9:1-10:11 – The Lesson of the Broken Tablets

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One Reply to “The Golden Calf — Really?”

  1. Moses sets the stage for this brief discussion in Deuteronomy, making sure we don’t miss the point, as we often do!

    “It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
    Deuteronomy 9:5

    “…for you are a stiff-necked people” (end of Deuteronomy 9:6). Ah, that’s it, stiff-necked. Indeed we all suffer from neck problems at times, but as Moses summarizes, Lord I pray I never get to the point that our ancestors did here.

    The Golden Calf

    There in the wilderness, Moses reflects, the people, our forefathers, committed great sin against the Lord.  Here’s a great article that provides a descriptive narrative of the sequence of events: The Golden Calf. According to the article, the Egyptian riff-raff that accompanied the Israelites on their escape from Egypt gave them the idea of a Golden Calf and Aaron played along in an effort to stall them (before they would certainly kill him). It’s an interesting twist in the plot, but it does not deflect the guilt that is upon the people. They all knew they were terribly wrong. Aaron certainly knew.

    Then incident after incident, from the time they first broke camp and left Mount Sinai, just after Moses’ brother-in-law has to be convinced to travel along with them (Numbers 10:29-32), the people grumbled and complained, but Moses pleads with God and his anger subsides.

    The leadership lesson here is quite clear and leaders, or those who aspire to leadership positions, should read through the lift of Moses with great interest, to summarize: those who follow will grumble and complain. They will complain about the leader, about the food, the water, the living conditions, the air, the dirt, etc., you get the idea. Know that they will complain and expect that. The key to success is to be completely committed to the cause. This is especially true in the church and it’s important to realize this is not limited to the senior pastor. Everyone leads to some degree, but those called to lead must be completely committed and focused on serving Christ first. This may sound obvious, but we must be willing to undergo self-examination.

    Lord I thank you for the circumstance you have placed me in today, a time when I can reflect on my own shortcomings and misgivings. A time when I can learn more about you with very few distractions. A time when I lead nothing and no one. A time of preparation for the next chapter in my life of service to you Lord.  I hear the story of Moses in Deuteronomy like an old man rocking on the front porch telling stories of old. Such wisdom, such depth of understanding. Please teach me Lord that I may teach others. Make this inner-sense of your awe and wonder something that I can relate to those who don’t know you and draw them to your side. Even if I never lead a group again, it is enough that I know your presence here Lord. I am content.

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