They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.…
I. THE IDOLATRY OF MAN (vers. 19, 20).
1. The strength of the religious instinct. Man must have a God. If he loses the true one, he will create a false one.
2. An unrighteous compliance with a popular demand. The preacher who ministers to the prejudices and tastes of his people, commits the same sin as Aaron did when he made the "golden calf."
3. The force of early habit. Before his figure they had been wont to bow in Egypt, and by the instinct of habit they cried out for his figure now in the wilderness. To see God everywhere is one thing; to make everything God, is another. The one is right, binding, and useful; and the other is wrong, sinful, and pernicious.
II. The INDIGNATION OF HEAVEN (ver. 23). All this idolatry and forgetfulness were offensive to Him, and lie determined on their destruction. Why did He not strike the fatal blow at once? "Moses His chosen stood before Him," etc. See here the marvellous efficacy of prayer. The Bible teaches that "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much," and gives us many instances of this; but how it affects God I know not. Let us grasp the fact and live accordingly.
Parallel VersesKJV: They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image.