That’s how this story starts – with the people of the land. These citizens, in groups of categorized people and by various means have (after a considerable delay) spotted an opportunity. So they rally together, create their case, and call for the leader in charge to do something! They call on him to break them loose from their religious & political confines, to unbind them from their past restrctions and to release them to enjoy unrestrained “freedoms”.
And that is exactly what their leader does. He calls for the embellishments on their ears to be removed and given to him. With their hearing now affected, he fashions an image that will retune their focus and shift their vision. He willingly fashions this new image for them and the people willingly accept it.
This story, is none other than the acount of the Israelites encounter with Aaron when Moses was on the top of Mount Sinai with God. We find it in Exodus 32.
“When the people saw that Moses was delayed… the people gathered themselves together to Aaron… and said make us gods…So Aaron said, take off the gold that is in the ears of your wives, your sons and your daughters…so the people brought them to him… and he received the gold…and fashioned it… and made a golden calf…Aaron built an altar… They said, these are our gods… The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. And when Moses saw that that people had broken loose (for Aaron had let them break loose), Moses stood at the gate…”Exodus 32:1-7; 25 ESV
Check out some of the meanings of these words and phrases from Exodus 32. It is chilling with respect to its application for our days.
- people H5971= a people, tribe; groups of people that can be categorized in various ways. Citizens.
- Moses delayed = so the people felt anxious and pressed for action to seize the opportunity
- Aaron said, take off the gold on the ears of your family = those embellishments that affect our hearing were removed. Gold. (No godly filters)
- Aaron received it and fashioned a golden calf = made by the hands of Aaron, this was their new vision and focus
- The picture in Hebrew, at the foot of the mountain was one of wanton sex orgies, and drunkenness
- the people had broken loose = they were now completly unrestrained in every perverted desire and passion. Total and unabandon sexual perversion.
In this group of citizens, there arose a domineering voice. (We are told that Israel at this time probably numbered near 2 million people, including women and children.) This voice was one seeking to unleash action in the absence of apparent inaction. This voice coalesced around Aaron and his newfound leadership power. And this voice persuaded Aaron to take these corrupt actions.
Do you see any parallels here with our government in America, it’s leadership, and a group of its people?
It is crystal clear that the American people have “broken loose” and our leadership let them “break loose”. Never wasting an opportunity….
Scripture tells us that,
“Where there is no prophetic vision the people will cast off restraint.”Proverbs 29:18 ESV
When the vision of God for a people, nation, or individual is cast off, all restraint is let go and all hell breaks loose. God looks at these people as corrupted, having turned away from Him and choosing their own images of worship, rather than Him.
But I would like to suggest to you that the loud voice of this first group was not the only group around the bottom of the mountain that day. Yes, those people did speak loudly and unified themselves around Aaron, but there was another group.
There were (at least) two groups that day. This first one saw:
- delay, unity in numbers, opportunity to fundamentally change their restricted lives
The other, we find in this passage –
” Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me.” And all the sons of Levi gathered around him, “Thus says, the Lord God of Israel, “Put your sword on your side, each of you…”Exodus 32:26-27 ESV
Here’s the 2nd group in the crowd that day and what brought them together:
- Who is on the Lord’s side, gathered around Moses, put on their sword
This group was categorized by their desire to please the Lord and obey His will. These Levites, were in the crowd at the foot of Sinai and saw what was going on, the debauchery, and not yielding to it. When the call came – WHO IS ON THE LORD’S SIDE, they seized the opportunity to stand on the Lord’s side. They strapped on their sword and went to work.
People, of the many and varied groups that we find ourselves divided into these days, we are united as citizens. We are the people of the land. And like those citizens amassed at Sinai, we find ourselves seeing the breaking loose and casting off of all restraints of moral, justice, education and religious values. And our leaders not only allow it but promote it.
It is important to note the end of Exodus chapter 32. For in verse 35, it says, “And the Lord sent a plague on the people because they made the calf, the one that Aaron made.”
The leaders of this land will be held accountable for their actions. The people of the land will be held accountable for their actions. And the Lord will indeed judge our land for her actions. Let’s not fool ourselves.
But today, we the people… with which group do ally?
Casting off restraint or strapping on a sword?
The clarion call is being trumpted, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”
We, people of the land, it’s time to strap on your Sword.
Go with God,