I don’t like waiting. Few of us do. But some things are worth waiting on. For instance, when we make the chicken for tacos and burritos, we toss it in the crock pot with salsa. Over a few hours it cooks slowly and tenderly. When it’s done, shredding the chicken is a cinch. And it’s so good. That’s just something you can’t rush. And if you’re in the house as it cooks, you must endure a couple of hours as that wonderful aroma of the chicken cooking in the salsa filling the air. It may be hard to wait, but it’s a necessity. God is the same way. God is the one in control, not us. And sometimes He wants us to wait. We tend to get impatient and fidgety and we want Him to do something RIGHT NOW. Sometimes we tire of waiting and we decide to do it ourselves. This is never a good thing.
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come,make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.” Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feat to the Lord.” So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. – Exodus 32:1-6, NASB
Moses was up on the mountain because that’s where God wanted him. The people hadn’t seen him in their expected time frame and thus they went to Aaron and demanded a god made of gold. Aaron, who should have known better, went along with the plan. Actually, all the Israelites knew better. And to make matters worse, once they had crafted this idol, they attributed to it their salvation. They gave it credit for the work of God. And then they sacrificed to it. Now we may be thinking, “I’ve not done anything like this.” But the truth of the matter is, we all have.
If we’ve ever relied on our abilities and/or resources to try and make a situation better (or get out of a bad situation) when we were supposed to wait on God, we’ve done the same thing. While our idol isn’t one made of gold, it is the abilities and resources we put into play to try and fix things. And typically what we’ll say to ourselves as we do it is, “Well, I know I can do it because I’ve come through before.” What we often forget is that we have come through in the past because of God’s help and direction, not just our own abilities and resources. In other words, we give credit not to God, but to the things we are relying on as we bypass God. This puts us in a bad spot.
Ultimately, Moses and the Levites had to shed the blood of their brother Israelites to gain control of the situation. Some 3000 men fell that day (Exodus 32:28) in order to restore order. While it’s not likely our failure to wait on God will result in the death of 3000 people each time, there is always some price to pay. Either we will get ourselves into a worse situation, or we cause harm to others, or we’ll miss something better if God took it on because we waited on Him. When we become impatient and fail to wait on Him when He asks us to wait, we will miss out on something. We can’t do it as well as God. We also don’t know if what we’re doing sets us up in better shape for the future or not. Only God knows that. We know it is best to wait on God, but still that impatience causes us to want to act. We must resist those impulses. We must wait on God. It’s the best way.