"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gath-ered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go be-fore us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offer-ings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play."
The Church of Jesus Christ faces a crisis in leadership. Many evidences confirm that ungodly leadership exists in the Church today. Even a casual observer sees spiritual decline in the Church and in the lives of believers. Believers evade walking in holiness, and conform themselves to the world. In the pulpits of the churches in America today, preachers concentrate upon psychology and the emotional ills of mankind. This emphasis at-tempts to use the Bible as a psychological textbook to answer these needs.
Theology and doctrine have come into disrepute. Seldom do pastors present the challenges and corrections of sound doctrine. Instead, they emphasize a feel-good religion centered upon humanity and his feelings rather than about God and His righteous demands upon us as His creation. In fact, many penalize those who attempt to bring correction to the leadership of the Church today. We condemn them as out of step, rocking the boat, creat-ing dissension, and causing confusion in the Church.
These false prophets and the failures of their ungodly leadership have played a significant role in the spiritual decline of the church. We have grieved the Spirit of God and quenched His work among us. We lack God's glo-rious presence, supernatural authority, and ability that only His Spirit can bring to His people.
This Biblical account recorded a time when the children of Israel faced similar circumstances of faulty, ungodly leadership. The children of Israel had come from Egypt. God had brought them out with a strong hand. They saw His glorious presence on Mount Sinai. Then, Moses went up to meet with God. He stayed there for 40 days.
While Moses talked with God on the mountain, the children of Israel down below went into idolatry. They turned aside from God Who had displayed Himself on the mount and revealed Himself to them in physical, tan-gible ways and with His law. They turned aside from Him to forge an idol. At the crux of it all was Aaron and Hur. When Moses went up on the mountain to meet with God, he left them in charge of the people. (Exodus 24)
This setting provides a very clear picture of faulty, ungodly leadership and the problems that result from it. From this passage, I want to examine with you these characteristics described for us here. They provide insight into the conditions of the church today and can protect us from their consequences.
First, Aaron displayed a dread of man. Although Moses left both Aaron and Hur in charge when he went up the mount, the text refers only to Aaron. What happened to Hur? The Scriptures do not describe for us what hap-pened to Hur, but Jewish historians describe what they record as what happened to Hur. When the children of Israel rebelled and wanted to make an idol, they went to Hur first. However, he stood up for God and said, "No. We worship God. We will not make an idol contrary to God's law. We will not disobey and rebel against God and form an idol." As a result, the people killed him. Next, they came to Aaron and gave him the same message, "Make us god's." Aaron gave in to their demands and said, "Ok. I'll do that and I will make a god for you."
Aaron displayed dread of man. Several kinds of fear of man exist. One is a very tangible fear, a physical kind of fear, where we fear for our very lives. We fear that some kind of physical harm could come to us, perhaps even death. That is a very real kind of fear. No doubt, Aaron felt this kind of fear.
However, there is another kind of fear prevalent in the Church of Jesus Christ today, an emotional, psychologi-cal fear. It reveals itself in this fashion. Our leaders today have a fear of man that causes them to give in because they do not want to lose friendships or families from the church. They want a crowd, so they will yield when-ever they need to yield in order to encourage people to stay and visitors to come.
Consequently, they water down the truth so that they might appeal to the crowd. The dread of man has reared its ugly head. They fear that if they stand for the truth they will hurt people. Then, people will leave. They will not like the preacher. They will not respond to him. This emotional fear causes them to set aside the truth. Instead, they follow man because they fear him and they want to satisfy the crowd instead of God. That describes a very real experience in the Church of Jesus Christ today and it is very common.
The Scriptures remind us, "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe." Because of his dread of man, Aaron fell into a snare. Ultimately, he made an idol.
The church must choose leaders who will tell the truth, who will minister God's truth with love. Sadly, many today display one of the clear signs of faulty, ungodly leadership, dread of man, and give in to man's demands and desires instead of adhering to God's truth.
Truly, ungodly leadership prevails in many churches today. If you want to see the heart of the church, look at their leaders. Are they money people or do they love God? My heart cries for those who will stand up and become what God wants us to be.