Exodus 32 describes the creation of the first golden calf mentioned in the Bible. Moses had gone up Mt. Sinai to get God’s commands for the people. When he was gone longer than expected the people asked Aaron to make a god to lead them. They had just come out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt where there were images of all the Egyptian gods. The idea of following a god they couldn’t see was foreign to them. While Moses was with them they could follow him but in his absence they needed a visible representation of God.
He received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!
”When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” (Exodus 32:4,5)
When Aaron proclaimed a feast in honor of the calf he proclaimed it in the name of the LORD, the true God. In making the calf the people weren’t breaking the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” They were breaking the second, “You shall not make for yourself a carved 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.”
Many years later King Jeroboam made two golden calves. He had led the ten northern tribes is a rebellion against Solomon’s son Rehoboam and was afraid that if his people went to Jerusalem to sacrifice to God they might return to their former loyalty.
And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom will turn back to the house of David. If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the temple of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.”
So the king took counsel and made two calves of gold. And he said to the people, “You have gone up to Jerusalem long enough. Behold your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. (1 Kings 12:26-29)
People who were willing to go to Jerusalem to worship wouldn’t be willing to turn to a false God. The only way the king could get them to sacrifice to the golden calves would be to follow Aaron’s example and present them as images of the God they already worshiped.
Millions of people follow false religions but millions more belong to churches that do not follow the teachings of the Bible. These church members think they are Christians but in reality they are worshiping golden calves.
I used to be one of these calf worshipers. I grew up attending a church that stressed the importance of being baptized and living a good life, but as far as I can recall I never heard any explanation of the gospel. I was baptized and became a member of the church and thought I was living the way God wanted me to. It is likely that the church had members who were real Christians but I wasn’t one of them.
I finally learned the way of salvation from listening to a radio program called Back to the Bible. I stopped worshiping the golden calf and became a worshiper of God, and I left that church to join one that followed the Bible.
If you fear you may be worshiping a golden calf I recommend that you check this link: