Exodus 32:1-10 (NKJV) says...
1 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” 5 So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.” 6 Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” 9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! 10 Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
Notice the Israelites did not "replace" God. They brought worldly things and desires into the spiritual relationship of God and His people. In verse 5 Aaron proclaims, "Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord." They rose early the next day, worshiped, sacrificed and celebrated.
They mixed Godly and ungodly things together.
In this case it was the Golden Calf, an idol. Idols are to absolutely have no part in God's relationship with His people. Numerous times in the sacred writings God makes His position on idols very clear.
In Exodus 32:7-8 we read...
7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. (Exodus 32:7-8)
"They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them." What it amounts to is that the Israelites brought something into the worship of God that He did not specifically authorize. They went outside of His directions, or commandment, of how they are not worship Him.
First of all, God said, "No other Gods." Here are a few scriptures...
“You shall have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:3)
“And in all that I have said to you, be circumspect and make no mention of the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth. (Exodus 23:13)
‘You shall have no other gods before Me. (Deuteronomy 5:7)
You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you (Deuteronomy 6:14)
and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. (Deuteronomy 11:28)
The second thing is they added to God's worship.
God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
What is "truth?" Since the Bible is the best interpreter of itself lets look there...
The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. (Psalm 119:160)
“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
John 4:24 says we must worship God with the right spirit (attitude) and within, or in keeping with truth, His Word.
In case there is any doubt, God very clearly says we are not to go beyond His word in service to Him or in worshipping Him.
Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. (Deuteronomy 5:32)
According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. (Deuteronomy 17:11)
That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:20)
And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. (Deuteronomy 28:14)
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:7)
Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; (Joshua 23:6)
18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)
In the case of the golden calf the people added a pagan thing (idol) to the worship of God and God told Moses He was going to destroy every one of the Israelites because of it. "My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them."
If we restrict our worship to what the word of God certifies, our worship is assuredly pleasing to God, and we are certain to be in fellowship with Him. We are worshipping in "spirit and truth." John 4:24
If we can be of further help to you in your search for truth feel free to contact us at any time.
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