The Golden Calf

Michael Wilcock

READ : Exodus 32:1-6

As for this Moses, . . . we do not know what has become of him. (v. 1)

But we know, don’t we? While Moses’ brother is being persuaded to make a model of what these people think God ought to be like, Moses is being told how to make a magnificent visual aid, the tabernacle, which will show them what he is really like!

Furthermore, Moses is being given God’s Ten Commandments. In that list, second only to the command to have no other gods is the command never to try fashioning an image of the one they do have. Every such attempt cannot help but be inadequate and misleading. As Psalm 106:20-22 puts it with withering scorn: “They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.” A farm animal to represent “their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt . . . and awesome deeds by the Red Sea”? They could not have got him more wrong. No wonder they finally had to face the anger of the one they had so misrepresented.

We need repeatedly to refresh our minds with what he has told us about himself. It is so easy to be led away by our own ideas of what he ought to be and to do.


Lord, forgive – and correct – our offbeat ideas about you.