Jehovah said to Moses: ‘Come up to me on the mountain. I will write my laws on stone tablets and give them to you.’ Moses climbed the mountain and stayed there for 40 days and nights. While he was there, Jehovah wrote the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets and gave the tablets to Moses.
After some time, the Israelites thought that Moses had left them. They said to Aaron: ‘We want someone to lead us. Make a god for us!’ Aaron said: ‘Give me your gold.’ He melted the gold and made a statue of a calf. The people said: ‘This calf is our God who led us out of Egypt!’ They began to worship the golden calf, and they had a celebration. Was that wrong? Yes, because the people had promised to worship only Jehovah. But now they were breaking that promise.
Jehovah saw what was happening, and he told Moses: ‘Go down to the people. They are disobeying me and worshipping a false god.’ Moses went down the mountain, carrying the two tablets.
As he came close to the camp, Moses heard the people singing. Then he saw them dancing and bowing down to the calf. Moses was very angry. He threw the two tablets to the ground, and they broke into pieces. He immediately destroyed the statue. Then he asked Aaron: ‘How did the people convince you to do this terrible thing?’ Aaron said: ‘Don’t be angry. You know how these people are. They wanted a god, so I threw their gold into the fire and this calf came out!’ Aaron should not have done that. Moses went back up the mountain and pleaded with Jehovah to forgive the people.
Jehovah forgave those who were willing to obey him. Can you see how important it was for the Israelites to follow Moses’ leadership?
“Whenever you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it, for he finds no pleasure in the stupid ones. What you vow, pay.”—Ecclesiastes 5:4