When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; 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.’ Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mould, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’

(Exodus 32:1-4, NRSV)

“Build the Calf! Build the Calf!” the crowd chanted.  The noise became an uproar.

“Build the Calf! Build the Calf!” the crowd demanded.

Everyone had wrapped themselves up in the building of an idol.  One that they told themselves offered salvation and freedom.  The golden calf offered the people salvation – it set them free from Egypt.  The golden calf would protect the people from the Egyptians.

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.’ They rose early the next day, and offered burnt-offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

(Exodus 32:5-6, NRSV)

The golden calf offered pleasure and safety.  The golden calf had a prosperity gospel message that promised riches to those who worshiped it.  The golden calf sold the idea that worshipers would eat, drink, and be merry.

“Build the calf! Build the calf!”

And it was a lie.  Every last bit of it.  Every idol we create tells us the same lies and comes up empty.

What are our personal golden calves?  What are the things that make promises to us that are really empty?  What are the things that tell us that we will be prosperous, happy, free, having fun?

What are the things that we willingly chant “Build the calf! Build the calf!”?

What are our national golden calves?  What at the things that make promises to us that are really empty?  What are the things that tell us that we will be safe, secure, prosperous, and free?

What are the things that we willingly chant “Build the calf!  Build the calf!”?

What are our religious golden calves?  What are the things that ask us to treat them like a god to worship?  What offers us false salvation?  What demands so very little from us and yet offers us everything we desire?  (Not what we need).

What are the things that we willingly chant “Build the calf! Build the calf!”?