“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, NASB95)
“Come, make us a god who will go before us…”. They don’t get, or understand, what is going on between Moses and God. They are tired of sitting around and doing nothing (even though they were the ones who asked Moses to go and hear God by himself and come down and talk to them because they were afraid). They want to get the journey to the Promised Land moving and are willing to take matters into their own hands. They don’t want a different God. They just want their redeeming God to act like they want Him to act. So, they ask Aaron to make them an image of God who will go before them.
This form of idolatry is so deadly because it is so subtle. In their minds they weren’t switching Gods. If we were there and asked Aaron what he was thinking, I am certain he would tell us that he was just making an image of the God who redeemed them out of Egypt. The obvious danger is that in attempting to make God in our image (an image understandable to us), we are setting earthly limits around him. We reduce Him to nothing more than what we imagine Him to be. We do the same thing with Jesus and Christianity. I think the vilest expression of idolatry today is Christian based. It is when we make Jesus in our image. We reduce His words and actions to what we are willing to understand and believe. Why don’t we take Him at face value? Because that Jesus doesn’t fit our image of Him.
He is the great I AM. He is not to be defined, but gives definition. He is not to be contained in an image, but is imageless. Jesus alone is the embodiment of God’s essence and character. Jesus says of His own teachings, “They are a stumbling block and a scandal.” We are to fall before Him in humble brokenness.
Today, let Jesus be Jesus. Accept, believe, and receive Him as He desires.