The people worship the Lord, except they don’t.
They sacrifice to the Lord, except they don’t.
They celebrate the Lord, except they don’t.
Here are people worshiping their god or gods. Aaron calls this god they are sacrificing to, Lord, Jehovah.
And they celebrate. They make sacrifices. They give up things for this god. Doesn’t that sound holy?
This is happening today. There are churches and worship services where they celebrate saying “Lord,” but they aren’t worshiping God. They are making sacrifices, giving tithes and offerings, serving in the Lord’s name, but they aren’t worshiping the one true God. God isn’t pleased. He’s angry they are worshiping a false god, one they created.
A people sincere and exuberant in their worship, in their giving, in their serving isn’t an indicator that they are sincere Christians. They could be sincerely serving themselves and the god of their making.
God is angry. Maybe it makes you angry too. Maybe you’ve tried to talk to leadership about how they’ve gone astray, gotten their priorities mixed up, and are aiming at a prize other than becoming like Jesus. Maybe they’ve not had a soft heart and it ended with you out of the church, rejected.
Moses doesn’t run down the mountain and tell Aaron he’s worshiping a false god. He pleads with the real One.
Taking your complaints and corrections to people should only happen if the Lord sends you to do the task, and certainly only after you’ve gone to God first.
You may not have the ability to persuade and change someone’s mind, but God does. He can melt hearts and change minds.
Moses pleads with God to remember His promise and to not disgrace His name. People would talk, say that He was evil to have killed His people.
God has no evil intent. The intent of His heart was only ever good. When there is a death penalty for sin, it’s only to protect the whole body, like a targeted system for killing off cancer cells, rather than to let it multiply and destroy the whole body from the inside out.
God is holy. God is good. God is love. Any idea of Him that doesn’t fit those definitions needs to be understood in the context of those eternal truths.