They were so fickle that they could not be trusted alone; and worse than this, they were basely ungrateful to forget their God, and ascribe their deliverance to Moses; and even to hint they were foully thankless, for they called him “this Moses,” as if in contempt, and that to the face of his own brother. They must have been in a state of wild rebellion, thus to insult both their great leader and his brother. The fact was, that they were so utterly unspiritual that without something to see they could not abide in peace: the faith which seeth him who is invisible they had not learned.
Shame upon Aaron to pander to them! What idolatry to think that the infinite Jehovah can be likened unto a bullock which hath horns and hoofs. They went back to old Egyptian idolatry, and set up an ox as the symbol of the God of power.
Or to Jehovah; so that they did not leave off worshipping Jehovah, but transgressed the second commandment by likening him to an ox.
Exodus 32:7, 8
Who wonders that the Lord resented the insult offered to him by the people who owed him so much?
Exodus 32:9, 10
Here was a great opportunity for Moses if he had been an ambitious or selfish man; but he loved the people better than himself.
See the point of his plea: God had called them Moses people, but he will not have it so, he calls them, “thy people” and beseeches the Lord not to be angry with them.
Here he urges the name and honour of God. Forcible pleading this!
Exodus 32:13, 14
His third master plea is “the covenant” confirmed by oath: he who can plead this cannot but succeed.
If Moses succeeded as Mediator, how much more shall the Lord Jesus, who makes intercession for the transgressors.
From Sinai we have heard thee speak
And from Mount Calv’ry too;
And yet to idols oft we seek
While thou art in our view.
Lord, save us from our golden calves;
Our sin with grief we own;
We would no more be thine by halves,
But live to thee alone.