Oh, the places I could go with today’s first reading from Exodus! There are so many questions I could ask about our modern-day idols. What nouns – what person, places, and things – do we place above our relationship with God? Whether as individuals, as a congregation, or even as a country, what do we place at a higher priority than God our relationship with God? I’m going to restrain myself and refrain from asking those hard questions. Even though they’re really good questions . . .
Instead of focusing on those hard but good questions about idolatry, I want to take a look at what happens at the end of the reading from Exodus. The scene is probably familiar to many of us, especially any of us who have seen “The Ten Commandments” movie. After Aaron makes a mess and casts a golden idol, God gets seriously ticked off – understandably.
God has just saved the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt. God has just led the people from a long period of enslavement into a new existence of liberation. God has also seen the people forget that God-given freedom. God calls the nation of Israel stiff-necked people and accuses them of forgetting the divine goodness.
God is seriously ticked off – understandably. God has made a decision. God has decided to let the divine wrath burn against the forgetful and idolatrous nation of Israel. But – there’s that theologically rich and important word – but here comes Moses. Enter Moses who has been on the mountain with God for a long time, receiving the divine laws that will guide the feet of the chosen people.…