Exodus 32: 1-14
“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come make gods for us, 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.'”
Forty days proved too long. Forty days of waiting on Moses to descend from the mountain and the people of Israel grew restless. Covenant and commandments tossed to the side, the people urged Aaron to craft them an idol and he was happy to oblige. The statue of a calf, molded from the gold of Egypt, was produced in no time.
It was disloyalty. It was calamity. It was idolatry: the worship of something other than God. All because the people couldn’t stand to wait one more minute. Why couldn’t they wait? Why can’t we?
Will we wait on God?
To wait on someone is to acknowledge our connection and our need. Waiting requires us to manage the time between action and inaction, need and fulfillment, prayer and response. As minutes tick into hours and days, the slow nature of waiting can grow difficult as anxiety multiplies and pain does not let up.
Waiting asks us to endure the discomfort, whatever it is, and to stay true to our deepest values and relationships.
While a golden calf is easy enough to manage – it can be picked up, carried, and taken about – the living God is not under human control and does not act on human time frames. And we like control. We like certainty and action, and we don’t like pain. But do we value our relationship with God more than these?
When the Israelites refused to wait any longer for Moses to return, they gave up, not just on him, but on God too. They abandoned the covenant relationship just as it was getting off the ground. Their folly in choosing a golden calf as a solution to the discomfort of the wait is obvious to us, but what about our own temptations to give up when the wait gets long?
Will we forge ahead creating gods of our own in an effort to avoid discomfort and uncertainty? Or will we choose to worship and trust God alone?