WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING
T PIERCE BROWN
When we find the story of Aaron and the golden calf as recorded in Exodus 32, we are especially reminded of Paul’s statements in the New Testament. Paul says in 1Cor.10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” In Rom. 15:4 he says, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
We are shocked and amazed that any of the Israelites could have passed through theRed Seaas they did, and seen the love, care and power of God as they had, and be so faithless and rebellious. We are especially amazed that a man like Aaron, who was the spokesman for Moses and had been invited up on the mount with Moses when he talked with God could do as he did in making the golden calf.
His excuses and rationalizations would be funny if not so serious. “I cast the gold into the fire and there came out this calf” (Ex. 32:24) sounds more like a little child that was found with hand in the cookie jar than it does a statement of a leader of God’s people. However, it is no more difficult to understand than the kind of rationalization that we find among God’s people today. We have come to expect the people of the world to blame everything and everybody for their ungodliness. They were born and raised in poverty, abused by their parents, mistreated by the government, and suffered all sorts of other indignities that made them not responsible for getting drunk, blowing up buildings, killing their classmates, or whatever else they do. Any person who would live out in the woods and make bombs to blow up various persons must be insane, and not responsible for his actions. And if he lives in town and burns down his apartment complex or kills all his relatives, he is still not responsible, for it is the ghetto or society or someone else who is responsible.
However, when we find the same sort of reactions among ourselves, even those of us who preach the gospel, it is even worse. A preacher may preach some of the finest sermons on personal evangelism or giving that you ever heard. But when you ask him why the congregation for which he preaches does not seem to abound in either giving or personal evangelism, instead of realizing it is because he has not practiced what he preached, he says in effect, “I cast my gold into the fire, and this calf came out.”
There are preachers and influential members who are found committing adultery with others in the congregation. It is not their fault in many cases, to hear them tell the story after they are caught. She was flaunting herself, he had been deprived of his rights by his wife, or any number of other things. In any case, he had little, if anything to do with it, for he had just “cast his gold into the fire, and this calf came out.”
There is a grain of truth in that bushel of chaff, but one of the saddest things about the situation is that as long as it is the fault of the people, the fire, or some other thing, there is no way we can repent of our sin and be forgiven. We simply cannot repent of another person’s sins. Regardless of how much fault there is in the other person, each of us has the responsibility to do what is right in every situation. What is your excuse for your failures, shortcomings and sins? Did the calf just come out, or did you shape it with your engraving tool?
T. Pierce Brown
1068 Mitchell Ave.