No sooner had God led Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt and slavery, did they forsake Him and pursue idols. Moses told the people to prepare themselves to worship the Lord, and he himself went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments. Meanwhile, the people pestered Aaron the high priest and had him melt down their gold and form it into a golden calf.
Aaron proclaimed to the people, “Tomorrow is a feast of the Lord!” (Ex 32:5). And they proclaimed, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” (Ex 32:4).
The God who created them and liberated them was hardly enough for them. They also wanted a God they could control. They rejected Him, and refashioned Him in their own image and likeness.
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Moses, following God‘s orders, took twelve rods, one for each tribe [of Israel], and wrote on each rod the name of the head of each tribe. Alas, there were twelve tribes, not to mention the Levites, because two had come from Joseph: Ephraim and Manasseh. A thirteenth rod was added for the tribe of Levi, on which Moses wrote the name of his brother Aaron, who was head of the Levites. He then took still another rod to the side, on which the names of all tribes were written so as to learn if God willed for his service priests from every tribe. All these rods were placed together in the tabernacle before the Lord. And, on the next morning, as Moses took all rods from the tabernacle, only that with Aaron’s name was covered with leaves and blossoms, and bore ripe almonds. It was the third time that the priesthood of Aaron was made clear, manifested and confirmed by God.
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