Devastatingly hard chapter. Aaron who was to serve the consecrated role of priest totally blew it. Made a gold statue of a calf for them to worship, a religious service that appears to have been an excuse for a raging debauched party.
And Moses’ response. 1000 people died that day, Israelites raising swords against each other.
It’s hard to understand that god’s concerns for us are matters of life and death. Though we accept that everyone does die, for us to life is inevitably a prelude to death. Not so god.
For him it is not so much about the length of the span of years: 90 years merciful, 50 less so, 20 or less unfair. But more removing the failure and sin that makes us need to die at all.
This is the merciful version. God wanted to destroy the lot and start again with just Moses, but Moses pleaded with him for mercy, and he relented. People got to choose. And a number choose not to repent, not to stand with Moses.
There is for me a black humour in the familiar lameness of Aaron’s excuses. The people made me do it? The golden calf just emerged from the molten gold; really?
But my sin, my sin, why don’t I deserve to die. I do.
God is very very holy. Ashamed survivor guilt right now.