We have another piece of gold. People had given willingly to the tabernacle. Now they are giving their gold for this new god they are asking for. Actually, they ask for gods. Aaron is going to make it out of gold. He’s going to try to imitate the perfection of God.
He carves the calf. He takes a skill the Lord gave Him and uses it against Him. Not all God-given talents are used by people to glorify God.
He makes a calf out of gold and says to the people, “These are your gods.” Cows are now their gods. They can make images of them and worship them. Aaron has pleased the people. He calls for a feast to the Lord.
They mix the pure truth with the desires of men to make God’s word and His demands more palatable to the masses.
They aren’t abandoning the Lord, no! They are going to sacrifice to Him tomorrow, but by killing animals on an altar that holds the golden calf.
Of course, it directly breaks the command to not make any image to worship. God’s heart desires obedience, not sacrifice. He has no pleasure in any offering they bring to this altar.
But the people eat, drink, and are merry. They are pleased with their new god. The other one was dragging them around the wilderness and then abandoned them for more than a month. This one was cause for a celebration.
Appeals to the flesh to draw people in to worship God will not end well without God intervening and causing some discomfort to draw them to Himself.
The flesh is never the way to God. We may think we found God, but the only thing we can find through the flesh is a god made in our own image.
People make a god who accepts their sin. People make a god who wants them to be rich. People make a god who lets them earn their salvation by doing enough good things and by being good enough. People make a god who comforts them and helps them and loves them and accepts them but doesn’t demand anything from them.
People go to churches to worship those gods. But they are missing Jesus, even if they are calling, “Lord.”
After all, Aaron says those worshiping the calf are worshiping the Lord.