The Consequences of Partying NakedJanuary 27, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Exodus | 3 Comments
Tags: Aaron, blame-shifting, commentary on Exodus, degrees of sin, Exodus 32, idolatry, Moses, Sunday School lessons on Exodus, the golden calf, true confession
And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?
Notice how Moses correctly attributed blame to both the people (it was their idea) and Aaron (he did “bring the sin upon them”). Notice also the designation “sin” and the attribution of a degree: “so great a sin.” Idolatry is indeed a great sin.
Moses was so bold as he stood alone among riotous sinners because he had been in the presence of God. You and I, as Christians, will wilt in the face of resistance, ridicule, and the threat of reprisals if we try to stand for Christ in our own strength. But if we have been alone with God – hearing His Word – forsaking earthly distractions – we will be as bold as a lion.
And Aaron said, Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief.
Aaron deferred to Moses (“my lord”), but then tried to blame-shift. God had told Moses “I have seen this people, they are stiff-necked.” Now Aaron tells Moses, “Thou knowest the people, they are set on mischief.” This did not fool Moses. He knew that God’s assessment trumped Aaron’s assessment.
For they said unto me, 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. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.
Aaron’s statement started off sounding like a confession, until he uttered the phrase, “out came this calf,” as if it’s something that “just happened.” The Bible had already told us what really happened:
And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
This makes it sound like Aaron made them strip off their clothes, but I think it is really referring back to Aaron’s instructions to give him their earrings to make the calf-idol. Moses recognized the spiritual implications of their sin – they removed God’s protection by breaking the Covenant – and now, having foolishly pretended that the bull idol could lead them, they were conversely in a worse position: truly exposed to their enemies.