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Why did the Israelites make a golden calf?

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 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, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”  Exodus 32:1-4
            The people blamed their impatience and lack of faith on Moses for being away for so long.  But his absence exposed the true faith of the people.  They didn’t really trust Moses and God, so they reverted back to their Egyptian ways—idol worship (breaking number one and two on the Ten Commandments).
            They made a golden calf to have something they could see to believe and stop trusting in something they currently couldn’t see (even though it had only been 40 days).
            Time and patience reveal our trust in God.  We may be good for a couple days without an answer from God, but after weeks and months we begin to get fidgety and seek worldly ways to solve the issue.  Don’t divert your worship elsewhere.