“Now all these things happened to them as examples,
  and they were written for our admonition, upon
  whom the ends of the ages have come.
  therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest
  he fall. “ – Paul (1 Cor 10:11-12)

Paul is reminding Christians who thinks they are strong to be vigilant lest they fall in faith. Throughout the Old Testament we read of many Priest, Prophets and Kings who served God zealously in the past. But eventually they fell from their faith because they were not vigilant in their service to God. They fell from the grace of God.

Likewise today we see many zealous ministers, deacons, elders and believers fall from their faith. They fell because they were not vigilant in their service to God. That is why Paul reminded us to use their stories as warning to prepare ourselves as we lead a life of service. For if we are not vigilant, we will commit the same mistakes as them.

For the Chinese had an idiom “马上摔死英雄汗, 河中沿死会水人” translated “There were many heroes who fell from their horses, there were many swimmers who drowns in the river.”. Indeed overconfidence in ones ability brings disasters. For a man who is not complacent will tend to careful and be weary of his surrounding. It is a good thing and it can prevent us from making a big mistake that will lead to regrets.

That is why we will be learning from the mistakes of Aaron. They will remind us to serve God with vigilance.

Let us have a brief overview of the Aaron

The Background Of Aaron The High Priest

Aaron is the brother of Moses, his initial duty was to assist Moses. I have written a blog entry talking about Moses initial faith and how God made Aaron assist Moses

From there we know when God called Moses to serve him, Moses told God that he is not eloquent. Therefore he was unable to speak to the Pharaoh on behalf of God. Therefore God appointed Aaron to be the spokesman of Moses.

Later on in the wilderness journey when God commanded Moses to construct the tabernacle.  God chose Aaron to be his high priest. From then on Aaron could serve God directly. He became a leader in Israel with regards to faith and religion. The character Aaron turn from a supporting character to a main character.

That was the grace of God and it was God who gave him the glory and the honour to serve him. But Sadly Aaron did not grow in his service to the Lord. He was not careful in his service and he made many mistakes in his service to the Lord.

Let us consider his first mistake

1st Mistake : Aaron Did Not Lead Israel Away From Sin

“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. – Moses (Ex 32:1-2)

When Israel demanded Aaron to make an idol for them. Aaron knew that they were going the word of God. But Aaron was unable to point out their mistakes. He did not have the courage to stop them from sinning against God.  Instead he had acceded to their request and built the Golden Calf. 

As a leader he ought to lead Israel and to teach them to follow the words of God. Yet he allowed himself to submit to the will of the people and to sin against God.

While Moses the leader is busy on the top of Mount Sinai receiving the commandments of God. Aaron the leader is busy disobeying God below. It is a scene of great irony 

2nd Mistake : Aaron Built The Golden Calf

“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!” – Moses (Ex 32:3-4)

Let us take a step and ask ourselves  “Why did Israel wants a golden calf?”

The bible records their request “Come, make us gods that shall 
go before us” It is ironic that God created man and yet man wanted to create God.

So why did man wants to make a god for themselves?

The Reason Behind Man Creating Idols

God gave the reasons for their actions as he spoke to Moses

“Go, get down! For your people whom
  you brought out of the land of Egypt
  have corrupted themselves. They have
  turned aside quickly out of the way
  which I commanded them. They have
  made themselves a molded calf, and
  worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and
  said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that
  brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” – YHWH (Ex 32:7-8)

Moses was on the mountain and he did not know what was happening below. He was preparing to receive the Law of God and to teach them to the children of Israel. Yet they have built a golden calf for themselves. God said that they had “Corrupted themselves”

The children of Israel built the golden calf for themselves. How does that work?

If man believe that they were created by God. They will see the need to obey him and to worship him. They will subject themselves to the rules of God. But this will not be the case if man created gods for themselves.

Since they were the ones who created god. They could worship him in the way that they want. For god was made by them they are free to write the rules and statues on their own.  That is why they made the golden calf and worship it. The bible describes their worship as so 

Then they rose early on the next
  day, offered burnt offerings, and
  brought peace offerings; and the
  people sat down to eat and drink,
  and rose up to play.”- Moses (Ex 32:6)

This playing is not like playing games like scrabble or risk. Nor does it involves playing dolls and cooking or to play paintballs and to build sandcastles. The play here is a wild celebration. It is a type of sensual game where they allowed their lust to flow, it is an equivalent to a mass orgy.  This is similar to the cultic worship performed in the land of Canaan where the people commit fornication as they sacrificed to their gods.

This is the reason why they wanted to make a god for themselves. They wanted to worship God using their own ways and in their own fancy. By right man is supposed to worship God with fear and reverence. They need to let go of their opinion and subject themselves to the words of God. They need to control their desires and not give in to lust.

But if one were to create their own gods. They can decide their methods of worship. God could look into the hearts of the children of Israel and he could see what they are thinking and what they longed for.

Therefore he concluded by saying that “They corrupted themselves & build gods for themselves”

What is worst is that they called the calf “the God who brought you out of Egypt.”  As we look at the story of the golden calf. We would have these questions in our mind “Why did Aaron and the elders agree to their request?”

Why Did Aaron And the Elders Allow The Golden Calf To Be Constructed?

Perhaps they were thinking, that they were technically not worshipping another God. For they called the calf “This is the God who brought you out of Egypt”. They wanted the golden calf to represent YHWH. Even though they glorified God with their mouth but they have in fact lowered his status. For they had limited God into a physical image.

Paul once talk about this mentality

“because, although they knew God, they
  did not glorify Him as God, nor were
  thankful, but became futile in their
  thoughts, and their foolish hearts were
  darkened.  Professing to be wise, they
  became fools, and changed the glory of
  the incorruptible God into an image made
  like corruptible man—and birds and four-
  footed animals and creeping things.” – Paul (Rom 1:21-23)

Human tend to think that they were smart and the created images of birds and animals for men to worship. But in their intelligence, they had transformed the glory of God into a image that is corruptible, a image that will rot and decay.

Usually we think that only those who did not know God is capable of making such mistakes. But the Israelites are people who knew God and God had warned them not to make a image to represent him. They are not to make an image to replace God nor could they worship any idols.

Yet Israel wanted to make a calf to represent God and they think they have the right to do it. But in God’s eye, that is corruption. For how can one use a corruptible image to represent the incorruptible?  How can one worship that image? Can we create idols call him God and bow down to it?

Conclusion So Far

That is why today we must be weary of these two mistakes of Aaron. We need to learn to lead others away from sin and not to follow their request. We are not to create idols and worship them.

Let us look deeper into the idols on our next post