"Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, 'Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”' Exodus 32:1
In Exodus 24-31, the Lord gave detailed instructions for the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, the altar of incense, the priestly garments, consecration of the priest, and the anointing oil. After receiving instructions, the Lord told Moses to come up to the mountain. Moses and Joshua arose and Moses proceeded farther up the mountain to receive the stone tablets with the law and the commandments that were written by the Lord. The elders were instructed to wait for Moses and Joshua until they returned and Aaron and Hur were to attend to any legal matters that were presented. As Moses ascended to the mountain, the glory of the Lord appeared as a cloud and covered the mountain. Moses was in the midst of the cloud and remained there forty days and forty nights (Exodus 24:12-18).
We later read in Exodus 32, that the children of Israel began to assemble about Aaron to make a god for them because Moses remained at the mountain and they appeared to doubt his whereabouts and his return. Aaron complies with their requests and asked for gold rings from everyone and he fashioned a molten calf with a graving tool. Upon its completion, the children of Israel affirmed the molten calf as their god, who brought them from the land of Egypt. Aaron then made an altar before the graven image and proclaimed the following day was to be a feast to the Lord.
Aaron undoubtedly experienced pressure from the children of Israel as they assembled around him to make an idol. Even though he was approached with such a request, remember Aaron experienced the great power of the Lord first-hand as he was with Moses during the multiple interactions with Pharaoh, as well as the massive Exodus under their leadership. Now Aaron, by his submission to the suggestion of the Israelites, led the people into the very idol worship that was prohibited in the Ten Commandments, as well as against the obedience the Israelites vowed to follow in their covenant with the Lord (Exodus 20:1-17; 24:3). Aaron’s actions were those that reflected agreement with the Israelites’ desire for idol worship and it also revealed what he believed about the Lord.
Leadership is influential and that influence can draw others closer to Christ or pull others farther from Christ. By choosing to obey the Israelite’s request, Aaron chose to follow their leadership instead of following the Lord and in doing so, he drew them farther from the Lord (Exodus 32:21; 25). Think of your influence in the lives of others. Everyone is a leader in some capacity. Are you drawing other’s closer to Christ by your relationship with the Lord, through your love and obedience to the Lord and His Word, and by your actions? As you think of your influential relationship with others and how it impacts others directly and indirectly, ask yourself, who’s leading whom?
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,