Vol. 6, No. 7
Since You Asked
~ Page 20 ~
Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
Why Would Aaron consent to making the golden calf when he had been appointed priest forever?
Aaron and his descendants were appointed as priests perpetually throughout Judaism (Exodus 28:40-43; 29:9; Numbers 18:1; 1 Chronicles 23:13). There is no acceptable explanation for Aaron's willingness to craft a golden calf by which the Israelites resorted to idolatry in the absence of Moses. Commentators agree that a riotous throng of discontented Israelites compelled Aaron to make them "gods," but he did not have to comply. He may have shared the discontent of the mob and likewise believed that Moses had perished on the fiery mountaintop. Aaron may have been afraid of his fellows and out of weakness complied to preserve his life. Aaron, some suggest, may have opted for the golden calf, hoping the people would not part with the gold or that the time required for the making the idol would sufficiently stall the people until Moses returned. Perhaps Aaron, believing Moses had died, thought this was his opportunity to assume leadership of the vast Israelite population.
Aaron's betrayal of God is especially difficult to fathom in view of his consecration to the priesthood under Judaism. Yet, Christians are style priests under the New Testament (1 Peter 2:5, 9). Really, it was no more blameworthy for Aaron to violate his priesthood than it is for Christians today to mar their priesthood by their sinfulness. God was angry with Aaron for constructing the golden calf and desired to kill him, but the prayers of Moses intervened (Deuteronomy 9:20-21). God is no happier with Christians who pursue sin today.
The question has been posed, "Did Moses lack self-confidence?" When Moses was 40-years-old, he had the confidence that he could lead God's people, even though God had not told him to begin that task yet (Acts 7:23-29). However, 40 years later, at the age of 80, Moses was not prepared to lead the people of God, though God at that time called upon him to do just that (Exodus 2; Acts 7). Moses made a series of excuses that caused God to become angry with him (Exodus 3:11, 13; 4:1, 10, 13-14).
Moses had been humbled 40 years earlier when he was ready to lead Israel, but when God was not ready for Moses to do so. For 40 years, Moses lived an isolated life in exile to a barren land as a shepherd. At an age when few people take on such momentous responsibilities, God called on the old man Moses to lead a vast nation of perhaps up to two million from slavery into the wilderness (International). It is little wonder that Moses lacked self-confidence. Which modern man under comparable circumstances would have exhibited substantially more confidence than Moses?
International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.
I once heard a preacher refer to Job as a complainer. Contrast that with how we react to adversity.
Admittedly, Job complained, but Job had much amuck in his life about which either he or we might complain. Anyone with a cursory memory of the tragedies Job experienced could hardly expect him or any other mortal not to be devastated by the extent of his misfortunes. Yet, "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly" (Job 1:22). Most of what affects anyone of us in life is far less than the adversities that befell Job, and we, then, should try as best we can to bear the adversities that buffet us, also without sinning or charging God foolishly.
Regarding physical things, we need to learn contentment as long as we have the necessities of life (Philippians 4:11; 1 Timothy 6:6-8; Hebrews 13:5). We must also persevere despite the loss of loved ones (Matthew 19:27-29; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:19). We may even experience persecution, suffering and death because we practice Christianity, but we must stay the course (Matthew 10:28; 2 Timothy 3:12; Revelation 2:10).
Often the ones who complain the most in life are the ones who have the least about which to legitimately complain. All of us, though, need to trust in God's providence (Romans 8:28) and rest assured that God will make a way of escape for us in the face of every temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
Someone inquires regarding the patience of Job. Job did not seek assisted suicide as some might today (1) when he as a rich man swiftly lost all of his wealth, (2) when all of his children suddenly died, (3) when he suffered medical maladies with their excruciating pain, (4) despite not understanding why all these tragedies befell him, (5) and though only his nagging wife who encouraged him to curse God and die remained. Job survived, patiently; in his case, he was wonderfully blessed again with material possessions and good health. It is no wonder that Job is portrayed in the Bible as the perfect example of patience. "Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" (James 5:11). Unless we "endure," we may never know whether God will richly bless us to replace whatever for which we should have patience.
The English word "patience" appears 34 times in the New Testament. Reviewing those occasions with the aid of a concordance will broaden our appreciation of patience. Patience is also one of the Christian virtues recorded in 1 Peter 1 that each of us ought to acquire.