And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
She had dedicated most of her young life to drawing close to the Lord. She grew up in the Church, attended Bible study and youth group faithfully, and served in the children’s ministry just about every week. She was a servant of the Lord, no doubt. When she had a question, she would pray and wait for an answer. Then, she experienced a time when it felt like God left her completely. In what seemed like his absence, she would suffer a moment of great pain. Convinced that He was not there, she would go elsewhere to seek relief for that pain. It was an opportunity for her to press in and draw closer to the Lord, but she decided to move away from him instead.
Israel had seen the mighty hand of God deliver them from Egypt in an obviously miraculous way. They had seen frightening glimpses of his presence. They had heard the word of the Lord come through Moses. These are people who experienced God in ways many of us today have not and perhaps will not in this life. It was clear that their God was real. Yet, in the absence of Moses while he was with the Lord doing important work, they forgot about God. They desired intimacy with a god, and that is clear, but they determined to create their own god when the Lord was not there. Without his presence or the presence of his mouthpiece, they strayed and drew near to an idol.
What we have with the Lord is like a beautiful love affair. There are times when his presence will be almost palpable, and there are times when He will seem to have vanished. In those dry and lonely times, our heart’s desire will shine through. We can do what Israel did and seek intimacy elsewhere, which shows us that we do not desire to wait on the Lord. Or, we can press in and pursue that intimacy with persistence. Those who take the latter route truly desire his presence. We should be willing to do whatever it takes to get there. Father, guard our hearts from straying when You seem far from us, and keep us faithful to persist in drawing near to You.