MAKING GODS FOR MEN (Part 1)
“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” (Exodus 32:1 NKJV)
The Scripture records how God humbled, humiliated, and confounded the arrogant and stubborn Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and brought His people out of Egypt with great signs and wonders.
God descended mightily upon the Egyptians in an indisputable manner. The sorcerers and magicians of Pharaoh recognized that God and not Moses were dealing with them.
They rightly pointed out to Pharaoh, saying, “This is the finger of God.” (Exo. 8:19 NKJV).
Ironically, many of the children of Israel didn’t recognize that. How sad!
Many of the children of Israel wrongly assumed or concluded that Moses delivered them from the bondage of Pharaoh and brought them out of Egypt. The temporary absence of Moses exposed their ignorance, unbelief, or confusion.
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Exodus 32:1 – NKJV
1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
When Moses delayed in returning from the mountain, where he had gone to receive from God the tablets of the law, the children of Israel became fearful and perplexed, and they, therefore, asked Aaron to make for them gods that will go before them to the Promised Land.
Unfortunately, Aaron granted them their evil request to their shame and destruction. Their reason for seeking new gods was that they didn’t know what has happened to Moses on the mountain.
They said, “for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” (Exo. 32:1 NKJV).
They were not fully aware, convinced, or persuaded that God, not Moses, redeemed them from slavery and led them to the Promised Land. How sad?
Moses was undoubtedly one of the greatest servants of God that ever lived. He was said to be the meekest man in his generation (Num. 12:3).
God testified concerning Moses, saying, “He is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the form of the LORD.” (Num. 12:7-8 NKJV).
God mightily used Moses in his generation. It is impossible to write about the history of Israel without speaking about the unique role Moses played.
Although God used Moses as an instrument of deliverance for Israel’s children, Moses never claimed to be the one who saved, delivered, or redeemed the people from slavery.
Moses repeatedly presented God as the deliverer of His people (Exo. 6:6, Deut. 4:34, 5:15, 11:2, 26:8).
How then did the people mistake Moses for the God who delivered and brought them out of Egypt?
It is undoubtedly wisdom for us to find out!
The ignorant, carnal, and undiscerning children of Israel wanted some gods to go before them in their journey as a replacement for Moses, who they claimed brought them out of Egypt (Exo. 32:1).
If the children of Israel had personally known God as their faithful Saviour, Deliverer, or Redeemer, they would have remained calm in the absence of Moses, knowing that their God is ever living and present with them and would continue to lead them even in the absence of Moses.
But who should be blamed for their carnality or spiritual immaturity?
We cannot blame Moses entirely for the carnality, idolatry, or spiritual immaturity of Israel’s congregation. However, Moses cannot be completely absolved from all the blame either.
The thrust of this piece is not to apportion blame but to discover their blunders to avoid them and learn from them.
1 Corinthians 10:11 – NKJV
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
What are the lessons we can learn from this account or incident?
First, Moses’ leadership style contributed mainly to the spiritual immaturity or lack of discernment of his congregation, Israel’s children.
How did he contribute to it?
Moses’ leadership was “a one-man show leadership.”
It was a kind of leadership that elevated one man above the rest and drew much attention to only one man. It was a kind of leadership that did it all by himself and thus caused all the people to look up to him and depend only upon him.
Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, recognized this and rebuked Moses, saying, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit, and all the people stand before you from morning until evening?” And Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God.
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” (Exo. 18:14-15 NKJV).
Besides the ineffectiveness and weariness that go with “one-man show leadership,” it will eventually lead to idolatry – making a god out of the man or seeking for another god to replace the man in his absence. That is what happened to the children of Israel.
It is regrettable to observe many of God’s servants in our generation still patterning or modeling their leadership after Moses. “One man show leadership” is not the New Testament kind of leadership. It will not produce spiritually mature and discerning people.
As seen in Moses’ case, one-person show leadership only produces spiritually immature, undiscerning, carnal, and idolatrous babies no matter a leader’s good intention, charisma, humility, or spirituality,
Beloved, when you adopt one-person show leadership – doing it all by yourself, drawing attention only to yourself, making people look up to you and depend only upon you; you are simply making a god for your followers or congregation.
No matter what you say or do, you cannot stop the undiscerning and immature ones among your congregation from worshipping you or treating you as a god.
Likewise, in your absence, as it was in the case of Moses, you cannot stop them from seeking another god as a replacement for you. Therefore, it is wise to avoid or reject this kind of leadership and its inherent pitfalls or traps.
Paul admonishes us, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philip. 2:3 NKJV).
Discover more lessons from this incidence in the second part of this piece.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I refuse to set myself above Your people or draw the attention and affection of Your people to myself. So, help me, Lord, in Jesus’ name.
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