Today’s reading is drawn from Exodus 32:19-25.
Turn on the television any night of the week, and you’ll find a comedy that has something to do with a family. Many of the folks who write these programs have researched what will make the viewing audience laugh. Through focus groups and pilot shows, they have carefully studied what to do on the screen that will humor us while we’re sitting in our family rooms.
A reoccurring character in these programs is the clumsy, indecisive, passive and very confused dad. He may be quite successful in business, but get him home and his IQ drops to room temperature. The moment he sets his laptop or backpack down, this poor guy is overwhelmed by his unmanageable, demanding wife and his disrespectful, loudmouthed children. Sometimes we sit and laugh at this foolish man in spite of ourselves.
Israel’s enemies were also laughing. And like our laughter at bumbling dads on TV, their entertainment was the result of a man doing a dumb thing. The man was Aaron, and the laughter was the result of his atrocious leadership of God’s family. Moses was on a business trip to visit with God and he had left Aaron in charge. A bad decision.
And with Moses the lawmaker gone, the Jews saw an opportunity for some good, old-fashioned complaining. “Give us handmade gods,” they whined. “We’re tired of worshiping a God we can’t see.”
So Aaron gave into the pressure and let them build an idol — a make-believe god. The out-of-control Jewish family became comic relief for everyone (see verse 25). “How funny it is,” these other nations must have said, “to see a family where the children make the rules.”
Your neighbors have enough on television to keep them in stitches. Be the sober-minded dad in your home. In spite of the temptation to let your family’s complaining and whining win out over your solid leadership, don’t let your behavior around your home make your neighbors laugh. And truth be told, living in a family where the dad fails to take responsibility and lead isn’t very funny at all.