The Faithful Pacesetters

Learning leadership from those who led in the Bible

The Golden Calf

Bible Character: Aaron (Older brother of Moses)

Aaron is best known for his contributions in helping Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Eventually he found himself alone in the desert with the Israelites.

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us.” Exodus 32:14 NIV

From that situation we have what is known as the “Golden Calf.” How could Aaron let the Israelites worship a god other than Yahweh?

Sending the Wrong Message

What’s your reaction when a member of your team’s conduct goes against the established guidelines? One temptation is to avoid the conflict and let it go. The problem is by not correcting the behavior, we have just endorsed it. People notice when no one is held accountable to the standards that have been previously identified.

Lack of Courage

It seems that in the case of the “Golden Calf”, Aaron chose the path of least resistance. Maybe he feared for his life if he did not appease the crowd? Nonetheless, it appears that he lacked firmness and chose the easy way out to pacify the Israelites.

Focused on Wrong Initiatives

The real problem with leaders letting the wrong behavior take place is we lose focus on the actual initiatives. The Golden Calf represented a destructive behavior, but more importantly took the Israelites’ focus off of God who was helping them become a great nation. The same can happen to our organizations.

Moses eventually returned from the mountain and was filled with anger from what he witnessed. After correcting the situation, I can only imagine he had lost a little trust in Aaron’s leadership.


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5 thoughts on “The Golden Calf

  1. Mark on said:

    This is not just a business problem, but a societal one, we do not like to confront others when it comes to issues regarding business, school, morals and even parenting now it seems as if it centers more around tolerance of all behaviors rather than the right behavior that is apart of the work place or home life.

  2. Good point Mark; it’s a much broader issue in our society.

  3. When I was still in college, lots of time I was leading some sort of street protests against some corrupt politicians, an elderly once told me that: “Any act to correct an evil thing should be carried out with the best of moves to avoid untoward consequences, otherwise it may only result in much bigger evil”. A calculated response to any situation was all he wanted to teach me so as to get the best results. Aaron may have, I think, opted for this, too and waiting for the right time to make his best moves.

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