Today's Readings: Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106; John 5:31-47 (Look Them Up!)
In today's Old Testament Reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, God sends Moses down from the holy mountain to the Israelites waiting below. Moses has been gone a long time, and the people have begun to sin. How? God told Moses, "They have made for themselves a molten calf and are worshiping it, sacrificing to it and crying out, "this is your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!"
Because Moses had been up on the mountain communing with God for a long time, the people may have thought they had been abandoned by their leader, so they decided to build their own god. But why a golden calf?
The Israelites had been in Egypt for over 400 years, and they had assimilated into the Egyptian culture which included many gods. Two of those gods were represented by cows; Apis, the bull god, a symbol of strength and power, and Hathor, the cow goddess who symbolized fertility and pleasure. Why gold? After the 10 plagues the Egyptians were happy to see the Israelites leave their land, and they gave them gold, and other precious items to encourage them to leave.
So what does the golden calf represent? Wealth (gold), power (bull god), and pleasure (cow goddess); the 3 things that constantly tempt human beings.
As our lenten journey continues, let's reflect on how God is guiding us to avoid such temptations.
In Christ's Peace...