I’m reading in the Old Testament right now as part of my “read through the Bible in a year” discipline. I just read about Moses going to the mountain to meet with God and get the 10 commandments. While he was gone, he left Aaron, his brother and spokesman in charge.
You know the story. The Israelites freaked out when Moses was gone too long and revolted. Aaron responded by gathering gold and crafting an image of a calf, thus creating a new god to worship. Bull worship was common back in the day (and it still practiced in some parts of the world as the picture above demonstrates). Aaron crafts a common god to give the people what they want – something safe and familiar to worship.
There’s no indication that Aaron opposed this idea or stood against this move to idolatry. He folds under the pressure of the people. All this while Aaron and the Israelites stand at the base of a mountain engulfed with smoke and fire, literally looking at the miraculous presence of God.
Moses was a great leader. His brother, Aaron, a failure. Leaders are made, not born, and these brothers bear out that point.