And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron…
I. The first fact that asserts itself in these lines is this — THAT THE GREATEST MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD S PRESENCE AND POWER DO NOT NECESSARILY KEEP US FROM SIN. We must rely on Christian principle; or, if we say it in other terms, we must walk by faith, not by sight.
II. Another lesson which comes out of this painful history is THE UNCERTAINTY OF POPULAR MOVEMENTS IN RELIGION. They are very deceptive, and never more so than to-day, when the democratic idea is carried over into the realm of Christian faith and made to do duty where it has no place. The work of the tempter is seen not only on individuals, but on whole communities, swaying them from the severe standard of purity and truth. With the children of Israel the rule was the Ten Commandments which they had just accepted from Jehovah and which left them no excuse for idolatry. With us the standard is the whole Word of God.
III. PERHAPS THE MOST PITIABLE FIGURE IN THE WORLD IS A PRIEST LIKE AARON WHO WEAKLY SUCCUMBS TO THE POPULAR WILL AND ATTEMPTS TO LOWER THE UNCHANGING AND THE SPIRITUAL LAWS OF GOD. It was convenient for the turbulent and idolatrous crowd at the foot of the mountain to have an Aaron to do their wicked work. It made it look better and soothed the outcries of conscience. It has often been convenient for godless and cruel monarchs, like Henry the Eighth, to have a Wolsey to sanction their wickedness.
IV. Lastly, we see THAT THE COVENANT WAS BROKEN, BUT NOT ANNIHILATED, BECAUSE THERE IS FORGIVENESS WITH GOD OUR FATHER. The two tables were shivered to atoms, but the law that was written on them by God's finger is still in power.
(E. N. Packard.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
WEB: When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don't know what has become of him."