“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”” Exodus 32:1
This is the real danger in trusting man as opposed to trusting God. Who delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt? According to the people, it was Moses. If you trust in man, man will disappoint every time. It may not even be the man’s fault. He may be a great guy. In Moses’ case, he was away, spending time in the presence of God. The people didn’t see him anymore, therefore, they decided to rebel.
Naturally, with their eyes focused on a man and that man no longer available, they were in need of something else to put their eyes on; they needed something else to trust. So they demanded of Aaron that he make gods for them to see and to worship. For some reason that is our weakness. We need to see when the Bible tells us to walk by faith. We need something tangible when the Bible tells us that we are even more blessed who believe and not see. (John 20:26-29)
When the people came to Samuel and demanded that he give them a king like all the other nations, Samuel was disappointed to say the least. He was upset because, as with Moses, the people missed the point. God was their Savior; God was their King. The Lord told Samuel – “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also.” (1 Samuel 8:7-8)
As believers we must be very careful. It is easy for us to complain that the man is not doing enough or is failing in this way or that. Even worse, though, it is easy for us to focus our attention on how wonderful the man is and take our eyes off of Jesus. Today, we even choose churches because of the charismatic preacher. But what happens when the man goes away? The choice you make is indicative of where your eyes are focused. If the church falls apart when the pastor leaves, then the eyes of the people were on the man, not the Lord. If the church continues, and even flourishes, then the eyes of the people were on the Lord, not the man.
Notice that in both instances, the men, Moses and Samuel, were godly and pointed the people to God. But it was the people’s heart that was at question. We can not blame the leader; the blame lies with us. Paul said “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1Corinthians 11:1) We do not imitate every aspect of the leader. We must see if they are following Jesus; if they are pointing us to Christ. If they are we follow them to Jesus. That way, when they are gone, Jesus is still there, and we can follow without fear of Him ever leaving us or forsaking us.