Exodus 32:1-14 CEB
The people saw that Moses was taking a long time to come down from the mountain. They gathered around Aaron and said to him, “Come on! Make us gods who can lead us. As for this man Moses who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we don’t have a clue what has happened to him.”
Aaron said to them, “All right, take out the gold rings from the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took out the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He collected them and tied them up in a cloth. Then he made a metal image of a bull calf, and the people declared, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf. Then Aaron announced, “Tomorrow will be a festival to the Lord!” They got up early the next day and offered up entirely burned offerings and brought well-being sacrifices. The people sat down to eat and drink and then got up to celebrate.
The Lord spoke to Moses: “Hurry up and go down! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, are ruining everything! They’ve already abandoned the path that I commanded. They have made a metal bull calf for themselves. They’ve bowed down to it and offered sacrifices to it and declared, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” The Lord said to Moses, “I’ve been watching these people, and I’ve seen how stubborn they are. Now leave me alone! Let my fury burn and devour them. Then I’ll make a great nation out of you.”
But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, “Lord, why does your fury burn against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and amazing force? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘He had an evil plan to take the people out and kill them in the mountains and so wipe them off the earth’? Calm down your fierce anger. Change your mind about doing terrible things to your own people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, whom you yourself promised, ‘I’ll make your descendants as many as the stars in the sky. And I’ve promised to give your descendants this whole land to possess for all time.’” Then the Lord changed his mind about the terrible things he said he would do to his people.
This post is for all those congregants wanting to revitalize their church. With so many, "Why is the church dying?" posts, let me explain why the church is dying in relation to revitalization.
Commandment 1: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery,"
Commandment 2: "you shall have no other gods before me."
Commandment 3: "You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them."
The Israelites make an idol, use nearly the same line from commandment one, and follow it up with putting another god before their eyes. (Now, there is question whether they were attempting to force God down by creating an idol, or giving their worship to another idol. The issue is still wrong.)
In their impatience, the people took a seed of truth from the commandments and used it to follow the wrong path. Those who shake their heads, wondering why transformation didn't take, usually are dealing with a situation where impatience or fear take root and the people begin to craft their own plan. Not dealing with their real problem, they paint a the false reality of transformation over their bad habits and choices.
Church revitalization requires letting go of the past and working hard over time. Finally, it requires faith that God will be there. It's really kinda easy to understand. Unfortunately, it's not so easy to follow.