“Everybody else is doing it …” “Come on, we are all going to go, just come along with us!” I remember hearing these kinds of statements during my teenage years, and they continue until this day. My parents would ask, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you follow them?” We have taught our children that they should be careful to follow good leaders. We have also taught them that if there are no good leaders going in the right direction, that they should become the leader. Today I was reading the account of what happened while Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments, and Aaron stopped being the leader.
I don’t think Aaron planned to follow the wrong people, but that is exactly what happened to him. Moses had been on the mountain for some time, and the people down below began to become impatient. They came to Aaron and made a strange request. They asked Aaron to make them gods (Exodus 32:1). Of all the people that made up the Israelite population, Aaron knew better than any that the God of Israel was the only God, and that all others were cheap imitations. He had witnessed firsthand the debunking of ten of the Egyptian gods during the time before the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.
And yet, Aaron went along with the plan. Not only did he follow the request of the people, it was Aaron who fashioned the golden calf from the earrings and jewelry the people brought him (Exodus 32:4). When Moses questioned Aaron about what happened, Aaron’s reply was one that tried to shift the blame. “… Let not the anger of my lord wax hot: thou knowest the people, that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, ‘Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.’ And I said unto them, ‘Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off.’ So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf” (Exodus 32:22-24).
Following others when God has called you to lead will almost always end in disaster. I am sure that Aaron wished he had stood tall when the people asked him to make them a god. He told Moses one thing, but in his heart, he knew that the failure was not only on the part of the people; it was also his failure. We can simply give in to the desires of those who we are to be leading, to make things easier; or we can lead in the direction that is right. I want to encourage you to do what is right, regardless of how much pressure the “majority” might put on you. The result of this event turned out to be the death of many people, and the hurt of the testimony of Aaron, all because he followed when he should have been a leader. Be faithful to God today!