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.”
Moses had entered the cloud to speak one-on-one with the Lord. This was a great time of impartation during which God conveyed instructions for the way his chosen people should worship him. This event lasted for 40 days and 40 nights, a time during which the elders were left in charge with Aaron and Hur as their leaders if any trouble were to arise. This all happened after the people had agreed to do all that God commanded and after Aaron had witnessed the appearance of God and had broken bread on the mountain with over 70 others. From the Lord delivering his people to this marvelous appearance, these people lived with the majesty and might of God before them.
The most interesting thing about this passage is not that the people had grown tired of waiting on God. It is telling that they grew tired of waiting on Moses, as if he had been the one who delivered them from captivity. One has to wonder whether they truly understood who their deliverer was. Either way, they had grown weary of waiting for the leadership and direction they had received from Moses. Without him leading them in the direction of the Lord, they went back to leading themselves away from him. When compared to their time of slavery and escape from Pharaoh, 40 days was a drop in the bucket. Yet, that was enough for them to forget that they were here to serve and worship the Lord. That small period of waiting was enough to negate all the miraculous things that had come before it.
Time can be our friend if we are careful not to make it our enemy. When we are required to wait upon the Lord, the hope is that the time of waiting will cause us to grow closer to God or grow in faith or grow in any positive spiritual way. When we let that time create doubt in us, all we see is that God appears to be gone right now. We forget all the times when we saw him show up in a clear and mighty way, but that is where we allow ourselves to go. We must remember to remember God when the wait is long, when He cannot be seen, and when we are tempted to doubt. Father, help us keep our faith constant during the wait, that it would help us grow even further in faith and in closeness to You.