The Golden Calf:

While Moses was up on Mount Sinai getting the Ten Commandment the people were busy making a golden calf, an idol. Sometimes it is easy to go along with the crowd and do what they do. This lesson teaches us that the crowd is not always the way to follow. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus.

Exodus 20:3-6; Exodus 31:1-18; Exodus 32:1-34

Moses had gone up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandment form the LORD God. Mount Sinai would still have been covered with the cloud showing the presence and the glory of the LORD God. The people knew where Moses was and what he was doing.

Day after day the people look toward Mount Sinai waiting to see when Moses would come down. Soon they grew very impatient and even frightened. There were some who thought maybe Moses was dead and they were left alone in the desert.

They started to grumble among themselves saying they needed a God they could see and they could communicate with. They went to Aaron, the brother of Moses, and told them to be their leaded and for him to make a god for them to worship because they did not know what happened to Moses.

Aaron didn’t have any of the answers for the people so to keep them happy Aaron told them to bring him all the gold earrings and jewelry they had brought out of Egypt. Aaron melted it down over a hot fire and molded the gold into the shape of a calf.

That was one of the gods who brought them out of Egypt. The golden calf was intended to be a physical representation of the God of Israel. The pagan religions of ancient Egypt often included the worship of living bulls, or calves and it was an idol of the Egyptians.

Not only did Aaron mold the golden calf he also built an altar and threw a celebration. They set up the image of the calf and danced around it. They feasted and dance and drank and had a really huge party.

Moses was up on Mount Sinai communicating with the LORD God and didn’t know what the people were doing. The LORD told Moses to go down at once to the people because they had but themselves an idol and they were worshipping it. The people were going to be destroyed by the LORD God and He would make Moses into a great nation instead of them.

Moses pleaded with the LORD God to spare the Israelites lives. The LORD God in His mercy agreed to give them another chance. So Moses hurried down the mountain, carrying the two tablets the LORD had engraved (the Ten Commandment.)

Waiting for Moses was Joshua who did not know what all the noise down the mountain was all about. He did not know what the people had done. Together Moses and Joshua went down the mountain and saw the singing, dancing and worshiping of the golden calf.

Moses was angry with the people who had promised to obey and worship only the LORD God. Now they were disobeying and worshiping a golden calf. Moses threw down the tablet of the Ten Commandment and shattered them.

When the people saw Moses they immediately stopped their singing and dancing and worshiping the golden calf. The people could feel their own guilt in their heart and how they had disappointed the LORD God who had brought them out of their misery in Egypt.

Moses burnt the golden calf with fire; and when the metal cooled, he ground it into power and scattered the power over the water and then made the people drink it. Moses was so angry and disappointed with the people. Moses could not understand why Aaron had made an idol for the people.

The next day Moses told the people what a great sin they had done and he would go back up to the mountain and ask the LORD God to forgive them. This time Moses stayed on the mountain for forty days. When he came down he had two new stones where the Ten Commandment from God was written.

What Can This Story Teach Us?

Aaron told Moses that the people didn’t know what had happened to him and they thought him dead. Aaron had made and idol and then tried to blame the people for the wrong instead of taking the responsibility for his part. Aaron didn’t know that a courageous brave leader would not have given in to the wrong wishes of the people. He would have stood up and instructed the people to wait.

Sometimes it is easy to go along with the crowd and do what they do. All Aaron had to do was tell the people to be patient and wait for Moses. Sometimes it is hard to trust and be patience. It is easy to justify our actions and maybe do the wrong thing.

If our lack of trust and patience violates what we know is righteous according to the LORD then we are clearly sinning against Him and we will be held accountable for those We worship God by believing His Word, obeying it, and declaring His greatness to others. We must not make an idol have no other gods before the LORD God.

You shall not make any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. We must be careful not to ever place anything above the LORD.

 Cite Article Source

MLA Style Citation:

Holstein, Joanne “The Golden Calf: .” Becker Bible Studies Library Oct 2014.<,>.

APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2014, October) “The Golden Calf:.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from,.

Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2014) “The Golden Calf:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (October),, (accessed).

Joanne Holstein is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She is a graduate of Psychology/Christian and Bible Counseling with Liberty University. She is well-known as a counselor to Christian faithful who are struggling with tremendous burden in these difficult times. She is a leading authority on historical development of Christian churches and the practices and beliefs of world religions and cults.

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