When Moses came down from the mountain holding the Ten Commandments in his hands, he heard the people shouting and saw them dancing and carousing.
“Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies) . . .” (Exodus 32:25). The Hebrew word used here for naked is para, which means to “loosen up, expose, dismiss all restraint.” It also implies “a new beginning.”
The Israelites were saying, “Things are not happening as they should. We’re tired of this battle, tired of waiting on God. So now we’re going to enjoy ourselves. Out with the old! We want new freedom, a new start — and we want it now.”
Nakedness in the Bible also has to do with not having on one’s shield for battle. Every man who did not have his shield was considered naked. True, these Israelites were literally naked —stripped down and dancing before the golden calf — but they also had let down their guard.
Can you imagine their enemies, the Amalekites, looking down on this wild scene from the surrounding mountains? The Amalekites once trembled at the very sight of Israel. God had put a dread in their hearts toward His people, but now they saw Israel taking off their armor and stripping off their garments.
The Amalekites began to laugh and mock, “Look at them. They’re just like us! Their God has no power and they obviously do not trust Him. See? They’re throwing off all their stict ways. They want to lust and party and play just like the rest of us. Some holiness! Such hypocrisy.”
In that one act of nakedness, Israel belittled their God in the eyes of the ungodly. They made the Lord seem heartless, cruel, uncaring, helpless. They besmirched His honor, His majesty, His omnipotence. They were no longer an example to the world.
That is exactly what we do when we strip off our robes of faith and let go of our confidence in God. Without childlike trust in God, a Christian stands naked before the world — exposed to all doubts, fears and unbelief.