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. (Exodus 32:1, ESV)
Panic rarely inspires clear thinking. Israel's situation is no different. Panicked that they have lost their connection to their divine Liberator, they call upon Aaron to make them gods who will go before them.
Consider what they've seen thus far. In Egypt alone, they'd witnessed power they'd possibly never even imagined. God rained plagues down upon idolatrous Egypt and no one could stop him. God's people had witnessed the unmistakable power of the almighty God.
And what were they about to create?
A clumsy golden calf, crafted by their own hands. How would this god go before them? How would it guide them or protect them? It wouldn't. It would have no power, no will and no ability. Ah, these ancient, foolish people. Good thing we have come so far since their time...
Unfortunately, mankind's propensity for idolatry perseveres. We are likewise glad to make our own feeble idols instead of trusting in God.
Christ offers eternal life, we're glad to just have a comfortable living. Christ offers to make us a new creation, we'd rather just have an occasional dose of self-improvement.
Our idols are just as feeble as Israel's were. Our folly is just as great.
Today, may we despair of every idol's false promises. Instead, find life and hope and strength and grace and love in Christ's abundance alone.