Peer pressure can cause someone to act or do things beyond the usual norms of acceptable behavior in order to just be accepted by others or to conform to their desires and wishes. People want to be accepted and don’t want to appear weird or radically different from those with whom they associate—either at work, in the community or at the church they attend, because they want to fit in.
The problem of caving in to peer pressure can lead to compromise and an erosion of one’s character. Exodus 32:1-4 provides a good example as to what happened when Aaron wanted to please the children of Israel. Exodus 32:1-4 says:
“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.’ And Aaron said to them, ‘Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’”
Aaron was the high priest and should have known better. What he and the people did was a complete affront to God who brought them out of Egypt by signs and wonders—not by some idol in the form of a golden calf. It appears Aaron did not resist the people’s desires nor offer a counter argument to show that what they were proposing was a sin and against the God who brought them out of Egypt by a powerful hand.
There were consequences for this sinful behavior. Exodus 32:28 reads: “… about three thousand men of the people fell that day.”
Furthermore, God was so angry that He would have destroyed them all and started over again with just Moses, but Moses talked Him out of it. Exodus 32:11-14 says: “Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: ‘LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.”’ So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.”
Aaron did not have the courage or fortitude to stand up to the people’s desires to make a golden calf. Instead, he caved in. He was overcome by peer pressure and thus compromised in what was clearly contrary to the second commandment in regards to not worshipping idols.
As we move forward and draw ever closer to the return of Christ and as this world gets more and more evil under the influence of Satan, we must not give in to peer pressure or to compromise with what we have been taught from the Bible. The Truth is: We will never fit into this world of sin and corruption because in reality, we are “misfits,” wanting to obey God rather than compromise to please others and this world. There are always negative consequences for peer pressure which leads to compromise; yet on the other side of the coin, there is a great reward for those who faithfully endure to the end.