Golden Calf or Krugerrand

There are numerous commercials these days on the advisability of buying gold as a hedge. One of the major selling points touted is that gold is tangible, i.e. it can be weighed and touched.

Gold is referenced in every section of the Bible beginning in Genesis and ending in the Revelation. Inasmuch as gold is an element, it has a half life which means that it is corruptible or subject to decay. Because of its scarcity gold is used as a metric to express relative value. Gold’s value in the Bible was commonly compared with wisdom.

Recall the definition of wisdom offered by Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10

Righteous Job introduced the comparative values of wisdom and gold.

“But where can wisdom be found? …Man does not know its value…It cannot be purchased for gold…Nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold…Nor can it be valued in pure gold…”
Job 28:12-19

Solomon’s father King David spoke likewise.

“The law of the LORD is perfect…more to be desired…than gold, yea, than much fine gold…”
Psalms 19:7, 10

Job further addressed the vanity, in fact the sinfulness, of placing one’s trust in gold. Job said if a man placed his trust in gold he was in essence creating an idol or a personal god. He further stated that such an action was the same as denying God.

“If I have made gold my hope, or said to fine gold, ‘You are my confidence’…This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment, for I would have denied God…”
Job 31:24, 28

Then in the New Testament epistles Peter reminds us that the greatest gift to mankind, i.e. the vicarious redemptive death of Christ is not attainable with the most valuable corruptible tangible assets such as gold.

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, …but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
I Peter 1:18-19

One of the final revelations of the Bible is the appearance of New Jerusalem. Gold in a much purer form i.e. incorruptible (no half life) will be abundant and remain forever.

“Then one of the seven angels…showed me (John) the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God…The city is laid out as a square; …And he measured the city…twelve thousand furlongs (nearly 1500 miles). Its length, breadth, and height are equal…and the street of the city was pure gold…”
Revelation 21:10, 16, 21

So gold by itself is not the problem. It is the use of and the priority given to the gold that causes consequences. The initial problem began way back in the book of Exodus. Recall that after Moses led the Israelites out of their Egyptian bondage he went up on Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.’…So Moses …said to the elders, ‘Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.’ So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.”
Exodus 24:12-14, 18

But the Israelites were impatient, their confidence waned, they took matters into their own hands and made provision for their own security.

“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, ‘Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for 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

“…And he (Aaron) received the gold…and he…made a molded calf. ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’”
Exodus 32:4

Even before Moses left the mountain to return to his people, God spoke to him.

“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it’…and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!’”
Exodus 32:7-9

When examining this great Old Testament event and reviewing other Biblical references to gold we need to be prepared to explain to our children and grandchildren the perceived differences between the Israelites molding a gold calf and the molding of gold ingots and Krugerrands 3500 years later.

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