I’ve never been a big fan of swimming in the ocean. A key reason for that is probably because I live in Washington and the ocean here is cold. If I lived in Hawaii, I may have a different opinion on that. When I was a kid, I remember going to the ocean with my family and swimming through the waves. It started with a little wave jumping then turned in to swimming with the waves, through the waves, under the waves. It was fun at first. That is, until I went in too deep. It was then I discovered how powerful the waves really were. I caught a big one… well, it caught me, actually. Under the water I went, unable to come up, as wave after wave pounded on me. It felt like I was in a wash machine. It was a scary moment, being held underwater, unable to come up for a breath. Fortunately, my dad grabbed a hold of me and pulled me up.
The problem wasn’t the ocean. It was that I had gone in too deep. I had not treated it with respect. I had allowed the waves to tempt me, calling me into the power of their pull. In life, we can have the same kind of problems. Problems like allowing ourselves to be pulled into the power of temptation. We can get in over our heads, and we can get in too deep. In the book of Exodus, Aaron had the same problem. And instead of swimming for the shore, he went in deeper.
Exodus 32:22-24 22 “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. 23 They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!”
Before you read on, I’d encourage you to open your Bible and read all of Exodus 32 so that you can see what is really going on here. Because Aaron isn’t so innocent. The truth is, the people did come to him and ask him to make them a god. They did get impatient and wonder where in the world Moses had wandered off to. But he did absolutely nothing to be a leader in the situation. And I think that in the midst of this conversation, he knew he had blown it. He was busted. He made a stinkin’ calf out of gold for the people to worship!
Yes, Aaron was in deep. Instead of swimming for shore, though, he went in deeper. This was his moment to confess, to come clean. It was his opportunity to say “I blew it, Moses. I’m sorry. I was afraid and so I gave in.” But that’s not what he said. He told Moses that he threw the gold in the fire and a calf magically came out. There’s no way that Moses bought this lame story, but nonetheless, this is what Aaron’s brain told his mouth to say.
When we get in too deep, we have a choice to make. We can go in even deeper like Aaron and try to cover it up, or we can swim to shore and come clean. Don’t be lame like Aaron. Don’t start sputtering nonsense about a golden calf magically appearing. The people in your life aren’t buying it. Just come clean. Own it, deal with the consequences, and move forward. Everyone will be glad you did.