Our solutions to deal with our deepest desires always point to something necessary but disappoint at the same time. Christ offers a real solution.
This is a well worn story in the book of Exodus. We need to talk through what is going on and then talk through the implications of it.
Creating an idol that resolves a deep need
• We think that waiting is too big of a burden to bear, so we create solutions that never last as long as we want.
• Idolatry will always point to a desire and disappoint In meeting that desire.
Exodus 32:1–4 ESV
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall 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.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
• We think that we are the solution to every problem.
• This represents All the right things in the wrong direction.
• They are pointing to a real need.
• They are pointing to a real problem.
• This is the thing with building idols. We want to create things we can worship all the time because we have a desire to worship. What is happening with this group shows us that we have it in us a desire to worship. But it also shows us that we really can’t meet that desire. They sure try though.
• We see in this the deep desire for certainty when there is none and the inability to create something sufficient to meet that loss.
Exodus 32:4–6 ESV
And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
• It is easy to create a golden calf because it represents the desire to have our losses met, our desires filled. But no idol has ever been sufficient to rebuild us, to forgive us.
• An idol is more of a mirror of our need than a redeemer of a people.
• We bear our full weight on them and then we are upset when they can’t hold us up.
Blaming an idol to resolve our guilt
Exodus 32:9–10 ESV
And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”
Exodus 32:21–24 ESV
And Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” And Aaron said, “Let not the anger of my lord burn hot. You know the people, that they are set on evil. For they said to me, ‘Make us gods who shall 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.’ So I said to them, ‘Let any who have gold take it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.”
• Aaron takes no responsibility for what is going on. He completely bypasses it and blames what is going on on the people and the calf.
• When toe to toe with guilt or wrongdoing or shame. When we come to a place when the thing that we thought would change everything changes nothing we recognize that now we can’t look to that thing for hope but we can blame that thing for our sorrow.
• When we can’t find the hope from the thing that we had placed all our hope in we turn on it.
Finding a God who will actually resolve our deepest need.
• We will always turn to something that promises us more than we can attempt to do on our own.
• And it is very good news.
• Because while there have been a near amount of infinite things that have volunteered to take that place, only Christ has stood in that place to be the One who can meet our needs through taking the blame that we want to place on everything else.
• Christ is the fulfillment of His promises. God has come close to meet us in any place of loss or guilt or shame. He has not left us to figure it out ourselves. He has given Himself for our sake to free us from the chase that leads to brokenness. From the pursuit that often “melts away into nothingness.”
• When we trust Him for salvation we are trusting that all that we have hoped for is found in Christ. and that Christ Himself is trustworthy with the weight of our soul.