The Great Responsibility Shift

Marvin L. Weir

“And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off: so they gave it me; and I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf” (Exo. 32:24).

A great part of this article was penned just over thirty-three years ago.

One is not only impressed with how quickly time passes but also with how the passing of time does not change Bible principles or human actions. As Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments from God on Mount Sinai (Exo. 19:120:16), the people were making their wishes known to Aaron. A golden calf for the people to worship was the order of the day, and compliance with the people’s request left Aaron grasping at the wind in an attempt to explain his conduct. Some things just do not explain too well! How could Aaron even begin to answer as he did when God had so clearly spoken, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exo. 20:3)? Even though Aaron died long ago, his feeble attempt to resolve himself of any wrongdoing is alive and well. Many people today make the decision to walk the road that Aaron once traveled. Such a road is a dead end—spiritually speaking!

The children of Israel were no longer in Egypt, but too much of Egypt still resided in them. Ungodly influence is a powerful and deadly tool of Satan. God has always implored His people to “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22). The principle to remember from this verse is that when one knows what is right and wrong, he should cling to the right and avoid the wrong. It has long been and is still true that “evil companionships corrupt good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33). Both the young and the old today deceive themselves thinking they are exceptions to God’s warnings! One must remember that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).

Aaron is a classic example of “passing the buck.” Aaron blamed society for the existence of the golden calf. The people cried, “Make us gods, which shall go before us” (Exo. 32:23), and Aaron relented to their request. It was not the people’s fault that Aaron lost his backbone and failed to stand firm upon God’s Word. Pressure from the world keeps us from living out our highest convictions. We enjoy being talked about, but not against. Far too many Christians give in to the customs of the day; even public violence is tolerated because people do not want to be involved! What a tragic and sad time it will be for one to face the Judgment realizing that he did not have the intestinal fortitude (guts) to stand firm for the faith and answer worldly requests with a “thus saith the Lord!”

Aaron also blamed nature, saying, “I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf” (Exo. 32:24). He hopes Moses and God will believe this incident is not his fault! But we must ask, “Aaron, what about the mold you made and the graving tool you used to fashion the golden calf” (Exo. 32:4)? Countless millions today who are consumed with sin and the miseries that accompany sin attempt to blame nature for their situation. Drunkenness is called a disease, and the homosexual claims he was “born that way.” These are pathetic excuses as the lusts of willful self are conveniently overlooked!

They did it; it did it–it came forth; it just appeared! How utterly childish! Aaron in a very real sense was the calf, and so are we when we shirk our responsibility and speak of it and them. Aaron was in a position to guide and lead his people in the proper way, and he failed. He also failed God and self, and no doubt found it very difficult to greet Moses as he returned from the Mount. We need to be reminded quite often, as Aaron was on this occasion, that yielding to sin has never made anything easier! A moment of reckoning will occur in this world as well as when we bow before the Lord!

Elders and preachers who are striving to lead God’s people today desperately need to learn the lesson that Aaron learned. Aaron’s actions were foolish and useless. Jehovah is not blind, and neither is He deceived by man’s excuses and rationalization. God declares and promises, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth unto his own flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth unto the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:7-8).

Neither did Moses accept Aaron’s plea of innocence! Moses asked, and rightly so, “What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought a great sin upon them” (Exo. 32:21)? Aaron probably thought that the fashioning of the golden calf would never become this personal. But it did, and such an action always will be personal! Some members of the Lord’s church today convince themselves that sin in the body is not a personal matter. It is! Brethren, in the Judgment, our personal responsibility will not be optional; it will be insisted upon!

The Word of God is indeed “a lamp unto my feet, and light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). Since we have God’s Word in its fullness (2 Tim. 3:1617) and can know truth (John 8:32), we will be accountable for our actions. James warned, “To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (Jas. 4:17).

May it not be said of us, “And I was just a member of the Lord’s church, and a very persuasive and influential few of the brethren insisted on these innovations to make worship more user friendly.” Mark it down, and mark it down well—the great attempt at a responsibility shift will cost one his soul!

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