“Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” (Ex. 32:32-34)
I can’t help but laugh when I read this account of Aaron’s role in the golden calf incident. Not only did he resort to the typical blaming of others, he acted as if the calf that he so skillfully formed just popped out of the fire without his input. I’ve seen this sort of reaction time and again in my life. People act shocked and surprised that sin basically took over, and indicate they had no control or say in the matter. I am sure that on more than one occasion, I have done the same thing. The funny thing is that when is comes to other people, it’s a completely different story. It’s so much easier to see their faults. Aaron’s statement, “You know how prone these people are to evil,” shows that he recognized the evil that lurks in the hearts of men, yet when it came to his own, it was completely accidental. I call this selective blindness. We find it easy to judge others, but completely evade our own culpability. The sad thing is that feigned blindness does not prevent very real consequences. In this case, the result was deadly for thousands.
It is our human nature to try to cover up our own iniquity, and to blame others. The problem with that approach is that it doesn’t change the outcome. There are consequences to straying from God’s path, and trying to deny, cover up or blame others simply adds insult to injury. I think about the difference between the first 2 kings of Israel. When Saul sinned, and the prophet confronted him, his reaction was similar to Aaron’s. The result was that God removed his Holy Spirit from him, he was eventually killed in battle, and the kingdom was taken from his family. When David sinned, his actions were much worse, but when the prophet confronted him, he was quick to repent. Even though there were still consequences for his sin, his genuine repentance redeemed the situation. God called David a man after his own heart, and I believe that is because he refused to cover up or choose blindness when he was forced to face what he had done. He pleaded with God not to remove his Holy Spirit from him. David treasured God, and therefore chose to look honestly at his own heart. The heart that chooses blindness is self-centered, and cares far more about self than God. The heart that loves God will deny self, but as a result will find the path to abundant life.
Lord, please help me to always be willing to look at my own heart honestly. Do not allow me to be so insistent on my way that I fail to seek yours first. Let me always be willing to confess and willing to repent. Help me to see my own sin before I see the sins of others, and help me not to judge. My sweet Savior, help me to love you more than I love myself, and in doing so make your ways a priority over my own. These days my sins are usually heart issues rather than blatant actions, and when I look at other people, I tend to judge their heart attitudes too. Open my blind eyes Lord, and help me to see my own failures before I start pointing my fingers at others. Amen