When we think about what the modern day equivalent of the golden calf would be, we need to reflect on what helps us to feel confident enough to continue with our journeys and to what we are willing to make sacrifices. Note: journeys and sacrifices can be literal or metaphorical in this analysis.
The Lord looks down and sees them partying. The Lord says to Moses, "I ready to destroy them." But Moses intercedes with three arguments:
1. These are your people. You saved them from slavery.
2. You showed their captors how powerful you are. Do you want them to think you saved them just so you could be the one to kill them?
3. Remember your promise to their ancestor Abraham that you would provide descendants for him.
After hearing what Moses had to say, the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on the people.
We continue to offer intercessory prayers pleading with God to change what is happening to us--even, or especially, those outcomes that we may deserve.