“When the people saw that Moshe was taking a long time to come down from the mountain, they gathered around Aharon and said to him, ‘Get busy; and make us gods to go ahead of us; because this Moshe, the man that brought us up from the land of Egypt - we don’t know what has become of him.’ [So] Aharon said to them, ‘Have your wives, sons and daughters strip off their gold earrings; and bring them to me.’ The people stripped off their gold earrings and brought them to Aharon. He received what they gave him, melted it down, and made it into the shape of a calf. [And] they said. ‘Isra’el! Here is your god, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:1-4)
At the time of Pesach, there is a rabbinical saying that is quoted in most Passover Seders that “it was not that the Children of Israel needed to get out of Egypt, but that God needed to get Egypt out of them!” As human beings we are all prone to sin and rebellion. Even the Prophet Jeremiah reminds, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it.” (Jer. 17:9, ESV) From Chapter 32 of the Sefer of Exodus, we again are reminded of how far the human heart can spiral when we remove our eyes from Adonai.
At the beginning of the chapter, what do we see from the offset?
Sadly, heart of the people from the beginning was already far from God, and like a child who “wants what they want now” regardless of the consequences they in a moment of fear, rebellion and insecurity embrace the demonic over the divine! How could this be? How could this happen? What were they thinking? The Lord had just rescued them from the clutches of Pharoah and the forces of slavery of the Egyptians, but with hearts bent away from healing. In this, it could be easy for some to be critical of our forefathers in the Wilderness, saying, “what an evil thing, I would never do such a thing!” This is all too reminiscent of Kefa who promised he would never betray his Lord, and then does in Matthew 26:69-75.
In such unfair criticism, we forget that we too are sinners and daily in need of God’s grace and mercy. Although the act of idolatry in our Parashah was vile and repulsive - it is nevertheless a harsh reminder of the affects that occur when we remove our eyes from God and His instruction and “choose” to do our way instead of Adonai’s. We do this as well, when in a moment we choose a sin over faithfulness, when we forge a lifestyle devoid of prayerfulness and Kingdom service or place anything at all above the Lord. These things are idolatry as well!
For some, it is their careers, for others it is entertainment or selfish ambition and others it is even our families. We have seen this grow I believe over the last year with lockdowns and COVID, where in the media, commercials on television and through pop-culture we are urged to make family first above all things. For some this is a sacred cow, but God alone is the only one in our lives who should be first, not our spouses, children, or grandchildren! For some, “this excuse” has even kept some from returning to Congregational Life all over our nation - all the while forgetting that the only way to experience family life is in the context of the Messianic Community which for eternity will alone be our true and spiritual family! In this friends, let’s look at Ki Tisa afresh today, covenanting before Yeshua that we will no longer place anything or anyone above Him. Messiah and Messiah alone!
Rabbi Mark Rantz
Beit Hallel Messianic Congregation
Shabbat, March 6th, 2021 | 22nd of Adar, 5781
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