The Donald and The Golden Calf

The Donald and The Golden Calf

I was sitting in church listening to my son-in-law pastor expound away on the narrative of the Golden Calf (Exodus 32). For the oddest reasons, Donald Trump kept popping into my mind.

The people of God are making a golden calf, worshiping it, dancing around it, saying, “These are the gods who brought us up out of Egypt.” When Moses returns from his holy encounter with God on the mountain, he is angry. But when he realizes how much angrier God is, Moses becomes the peace-maker between God and an-about-to-be-deep-fried people.

So here’s the story: the people have gold because they plundered the Egyptians on the way out of town. I don’t know how to read this. It could be distributive justice for slaves who worked without fair remuneration, or it could be that the Egyptians were terrified of the God of these hands-out people. It might be God’s provision for His people on the long haul through the wilderness. I really don’t know.

But I suspect that in their culture, it was a sign of victory—the God of Israel had defeated the gods of Egypt and taken the spoil of war. However you read it, these people have gold because of their God. And with it, they make a golden calf god and attribute their freedom to it. Then, they offer it their worship, just like they did to the living God who had actually moved heaven and earth to set them free.

So, why am I thinking about Donald as my pastor examines this passage? Ill-gotten gain? The worship of gold? The making of gods of gold in casinos and towers and plazas and jets? Taking bits and pieces of religious language/practices and submitting them to a new savior?

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out why my mind connected these two. Maybe Donald’s popularity says more about us than it does about him. When there is no Moses in the camp, we fashion our leaders out of what dazzles us. And apparently gold really dazzles us.

As the story plays out in Scripture, the gold is ground into a powder, mixed with water, and the people are forced to drink it. I suppose it becomes expensive excrement a few days later. Like the Israelites, we end up consuming the gods we construct. As they pass through us, they become worthless. I suppose we are really hungry for a national savior in the upcoming election. Lacking one, we will fashion our own.

I think I’ll wait for Moses to return from the smoking mountain.

Comments

  1. Donna Thompson says

    It’s very interesting that you would write this because I heard Jimmy Kimmel joking that Christians would never vote for a golden calf!

  2. Mark Wooten says

    Who is the Moses for the Nazarene Church?

  3. Bill Fisher says

    Dear Dr. Dan,
    I am very curious to now why, for the very first time, I am receiving this insight(?) In the politics of our day? I have NEVER rec’d any of your blogs or opinions, other than some polite Facebook exchanges?
    I have several preferences in the 2016 presidential race, the “golden calf” being one. I am not enamored by The Donalds money, towers or dollars, although he does have some great golf courses.
    I love go hear the bottom-line truth, something we don’t hear from our current despot in office.
    My greatest concern is not your opinion but rather, heretofore your silence regarding Barrack Hussien Obama!
    Where is your voice regarding the infliction of evils he is unleashing on our country and in our world?
    Believe it or not,
    A friend!

  4. Lewis Martin says

    Couldn’t one easily say the same thing about many of the candidates? Bernie Sanders has risen in popularity of some younger voters because he offers what they feel they have lost. Hillary Clinton offers more of the same. Cruz offers safety from the enemy. Carson offers a form of godliness to the white house. Pres. Obama offered “hope and change’.

    Anytime we put faith in humans rather than God we are creating a golden calf.

    —Lewis

  5. D C Dowling says

    Americans did it twice in the last 8 years and unfortunately may have not learned the lesson. Hopefully it won’t take 40 years.

  6. I agree with Bill. Why the silence up to now? If the Donald bothers you then surely that individual who now sits as Pharaoh bothers you at least a bit???

  7. choose this day whom u will trust
    We let Obama in because we where tired of the way things where not realizing that there is another option and it might not be as good
    also hate to say it but most Americans don’t do there homework when it come to there candidate if we would have we would have know what Obama was about but what surprises me is that Hillary didn’t use what she knew to help her win the elation she a true demarcate I might not be abler to win therefore I won’t tell people about my opponent but yet if you have as many skeletons in your closet as Hillary you might not wont to go there Golden Calf that a big can of worms for America for the golden calf have motivated this country far more than the glory Of God doing what is right even if there is a lose to it not a popular idea but sometimes it is the right idea

  8. Politics aside for a moment…

    He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “[b]This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” 5 Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.”

    That last verse indicates something powerful. They weren’t making the calf itself their god… They made the calf and were going to use it in order to worship the Lord.

    They used the knowledge of idols that they had brought out of Egypt with them… And their INTENTION was to worship the Lord with their pitiful knowledge after 400 years in slavery.

    They didn’t know His ways. They didn’t know His heart. They were on the beginning stages of a journey… Becoming His bride…

    Their intent was to worship. But it didn’t line up with the Lord’s ways… And He was angry and punished them for their assumptions and errors.

    How much more should we then… Walking thousands of years later… With this book and this knowledge, focus on what the Lord commands for every day life, rather than the distractions of daily divisions that don’t shed light on the gospel of the Kingdom!

  9. Sophia-Baphomet777 says

    -Bill Fisher says: I have several preferences in the 2016 presidential race, “the ‘golden calf’ being one.” I am not enamored by The Donalds money, towers or dollars, “although he does have some great golf courses.”
    I love go hear “the bottom-line truth,” something we don’t hear from “our current despot in office.”
    My greatest concern is not your opinion but rather, heretofore “your silence regarding Barrack ‘Hussien’ Obama!”
    Where is your voice regarding “the infliction of evils he is unleashing” on our country and in our world? “Believe i or not, A friend!” (Not…Friend my Ass! With a Friend like YOU, who needs an enemy. LOL.)

    -D C Dowling says: Americans did it twice in the last 8 years and “unfortunately may have not learned the lesson.” Hopefully it won’t take 40 years.

    -Mark M says: I agree with Bill. Why the silence up to now? If the Donald bothers you then surely “that individual who now sits as Pharaoh” bothers you at least a bit???

    Oh have you lost your way, my little conservative lambs? We aren’t giving free counseling.

    There’s one thing I would like to thank Donald Trump for, his service to this country in doing so much to bring down our national disgrace known as the Republican Party! LOL. Stupidity isn’t a value. And ignorance shouldn’t be a tradition. Trump is only good at bringing people together when there is a lynching. There are not enough white-cracker authoritarians to elect him!

    This reminds me of Donald Trump and his supporters:

    Carol For Another Christmas, A (1964)
    ( Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling , with Peter Sellers )

    at 5:50 you can skip to the second apart where the character tells the crowd that when they finish destroying ” them ” they can get to the business of destroying each other , which the crow cheers wildly …. (They don’t offer any solutions, just finger pointing , name calling and insults)

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