They made a calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molded image. Thus they changed their glory into the image of an ox that eats grass." Psalm 106:19-20 "
Text: Exodus 32 : 6
WORSHIP OF THE GOLDEN CALF
The inevitable happened! One thing led to the next. First, came the suggestion to ‘make gods’. After that, came the creation of a golden calf. Worship was the next logical step!
“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.”
1. “They rose early on the next day”
The thought of having a religious festival excited the people. They got up early so that they could enjoy this religious feast proclaimed by Aaron a little longer.
What was missing, most obviously, was the lack of preparation to worship. When God said that He would personally address Israel, there went out an order to the people to take three days to prepare for this Divine visit. This kind of preparation was noticeably absent.
2. “Offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings”
The form of worship was quite similar. Burnt offerings represented whole-heartedness of worship. Peace offerings assumed that the burnt offerings were accepted. There was no “sin offering” though!
3. “The people sat down to eat and drink”
This represented the fellowship part of the worship. Again, the close similarity between calf worship and the way Moses taught them how to worship cannot be ignored.
4. “And rose up to play”
The word “play” is most likely a euphemism chosen by the writer to describe “sexual promiscuity”. Worship of the calf led to the lowering of moral standards!
INFLUENCE OF EGYPT
How did Israel end up with Calf Worship? It is interesting to note that two very popular Egyptian deities were called Apis (represented by a bull) and Hathor (represented by a heifer). Baal worship (Canaanite) also involved the statue of a bull.
These were worshipped as gods who had great power and could grant fertility to their devotees. It was an easy cross-over from this idolatrous concept of worship to the calf-worship recently introduced!
A SAD BUT TRUE COMMENTARY
The writer who wrote Psalm 106 was right in his observation. Israel had badly forgotten its Saviour and Lord!