He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of Egypt.” (Exodus 32:4 NIV).
Moses was called by God to go up the mountain and to stay there. God told him that there He will give him the tablets of stone, with the law and commandments that He had written for their instruction.
The Bible records that Moses was with God forty days and forty nights.
At the same time in the camp of the Israelites a lot of evil things were happening. The people came and asked Aaron to make gods to go before them. The reason that they gave was that they did not know what happened to Moses who had led them out of Egypt.
Aaron instead of telling them that it was wrong to create idols, gave in to their pressure and fashioned an idol cast in the shape of a calf.
What stands out is the fact that when God is not worshipped, idols step in to take its place. The people could not do without God. So they substituted the golden calf for God. When God is removed from our heart a vacuum cannot exist. It will be filled with something else.
It could be some person, some material blessing or some object of our affection that takes the form of an idol. We will be careful not to worship real idols but we will not be careful about such virtual idol worship which is sin.
In this modern world such virtual idols abound. And we knowingly or unknowingly carry them in our hearts and bow down to them. Let us be careful that we do not sin in such manner and thus dishonor God whom we worship. It is time to pull out idols from our heart and destroy them.