“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
At the moment, I’m saving up to pay for a summer holiday in the USA, and also a honeymoon after I get married. I’m not very good at saving – that seems to be something that is common to lots of young people in the UK today. Just after the iPod came out, a friend of mine began saving up to buy one. He was not very good at saving either, and so when another company bought out an MP3 player for less money than the iPod, he thought it would be a good idea just to buy that one. It would mean he would not have to wait so long to get one! Unfortunately, the cheap MP3 player turned out to be rather useless. It really wasn’t what he wanted, so he ended up selling it for less than he bought it for, and saving for an iPod anyway. His foray into the world of cheap electronics actually meant that he had to wait even longer!
In Exodus 24, God calls Moses up Mount Sinai to receive the commandments. Moses instructs the Israelites to wait for him. He ends up spending forty days and forty nights up the mountains, and the Israelites get bored waiting for him. Eventually, fed up with being stuck in the middle of the desert, they ask Aaron to make them some new gods to lead them out. He made them a golden calf, built an altar to it, and declared a feast day in honour of their new god. God sees all of this, however, and sends Moses back down the mountain. Moses is extremely angry – but not as angry as God, because his beloved people have turned against him.
There is a tendency today to strive for short term reward and pleasure. People look at the promises of Christianity and think that they would be better off living for the now, and building their own “golden calves” in the form of wealth, possessions and experiences, which become the gods that they worship. No-one becomes a Christian for short term gain, but in the long term, the benefits of living for Christ far outweigh those of not doing so. Following Jesus, we have a God who cares for us, who loves us, and knows what is best for us. He supports us and guides us in the here and now. Jesus gave his life for us so that we could be reunited with God the Father. He died and rose again so that we could have eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom. Is it really worth turning our back on all of this, simply for short term pleasure now?