Moses is a mixologist.
Back in Exodus 32, Moses takes that Aaron-crafted golden calf, the one worshiped by the Israelites, and he smashes it into a powder.
Get this scene in your eyes.
There’s Moses, after smashing the tablets with the Law on them, he drags the golden calf to a place where everyone can see what he’s about to do.
Moses grabs a hammer, and with sweat flying off his brow and dripping off his nose—he pulverizes and pounds this statue into glitter. The Israelites looked on, thinking to themselves, “Holy…cow.”
Lesson learned? No.
Moses gathers up the gold dust and spreads it over their only source of drinking water says: “Drink it. Now.” What Moses? It sounds like you said to drink this mixture of gold dust and water? “Drink. It.”
Why this tonic? Why did Moses muddle this calf into a cocktail for the people?
Idolatry Isn’t Just Out There
Moses is showing us that idolatry isn’t just out there in the world. It’s in us. We have the problem. Idols aren’t just things outside of us. The people of Israel drink the idol because that’s where it originated—in their bowels, heart, self.
Things become idols because of what is inside of our hearts. Our sinful desires are the issue at hand. Not gold. Not entertainment. Not Pinot Noir. Not sex. Everything created by God is good; we take these goods and make them into gods. We give pay raises to created things they can’t handle. We ask relationships, children, and money to perform above their pay grade.
As Matt Smethurst tweeted:
Idolatry Must Be Seen Clearly
There’s another reason why Moses crafted this crushed cocktail. The idol needs to be seen for what it is: waste.
By drinking the remains of the idol, it’s now going to be passed through their digestive tracts and will pass through the human body’s waste disposal system. It’s disgusting. And that’s how idols should be seen because that’s what they are—dung.
Idols, when seen in the right light, should evoke disgust in us. They are meant to be in the past, not adored. They are meant to be covered up, not hoisted up. Idols are meant to be flushed and forgotten.
See our idols for what they are. See the gold flecks in the cup and realize that turds glittered with gold still stink.