And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
What was it that caused the people to turn aside to what God had just told them not to do? Was it uncertainty? That can often make us willing to make hasty and poor decisions. Or maybe they just got impatient waiting for Moses to come back and decided to do things their own way. Just recently they’d seen the powerlessness of Egypt compared to the one true God. They’d seen Him shake the mountain and feared to draw near. They’d received the law and agreed to the covenant. And yet now they think they can manufacture some god that will lead them and help them.
Sometimes we are quick to forget. Sometimes experiences that should hold lasting meaning in our hearts are quickly dismissed. Maybe sometimes we feel like we can’t just do nothing so we do something we shouldn’t do. So when things weren’t going according to the plans of the people or going at their pace, they take matters into their own hands. Instead of just waiting for Moses and listening for the voice of God, they break His commandments by fashioning and worshiping this idol.
We can’t expect God to do things our way and in our time. It just doesn’t work that way. We can’t forge ahead when He wants us to pause for a moment. We can’t give up if He doesn’t move when we want Him to. That’s not what following God is about. It takes a lot of patience and humility. It takes surrendering our will for His. It takes effort to be obedient, self-control to deny ourselves, and faith that He knows what He’s doing. It takes dedication. It takes, honestly, experiences like this to learn hard lessons that hopefully stick with us the rest of our lives.
Maybe the question here is, is it worth waiting for? Imagine if God had just let the people go and they tried to follow that golden calf into the promised land. What a mess their lives would have been. But when He went with them, though there were other twists and turns along the way, it turned out pretty good in the end. We’re never going to get where we really want to end up if we abandon God in exchange for something else. That thing we’re hoping for will remain elusive and will end up seeming so meaningless without God bringing it to pass in His way. Let’s be willing to wait on God when we have to. And let’s not be in such a hurry that we only end up doing something that hurts Him and us.