(2) 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."
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Groups of people create a spirit that tends to pull its members along with it. "Birds of a feather flock together." It is a form of mob psychology. A milder form of this process motivates people to conform to certain current fashions, music, foods, dress, or whatever. A modern cliché speaks of "going with the flow," which urges the individual not to resist the power or the direction of the spirit of an event but choose to yield to it. "Don't resist it. Go right along with it."
The person's choice should depend on its direction, but far too many yield to what is popular or what feels good at the moment rather than what is right. Sometimes, we have to resist the spirit, the flow, or the power of an event. Adolf Hitler used large crowds, martial music, aggressive speaking, and dramatic lighting to create a spirit, which enabled him to win the hearts of so many Germans that virtually the entire nation walked in lock-step with that spirit.
In a simpler and less serious fashion, advertising follows the same course, but advertisers try to create an aura about the product. They create a spirit to energize people to purchase their product. Restauranteurs create ambience—from the music to the décor to the lighting to the attire of the waitresses—to produce the kind of spirit that puts diners into a mood to spend their money on often overpriced food and enjoy the experience. This is how the Bible often uses the word "spirit."
I Corinthians 2 explains that the human mind has a spiritual dimension that imparts or empowers individuals with the understanding of the physical and material, which is woefully insufficient in dealing with the things of the spirit realm. This happens largely because humanity has been deceived. Revelation 12:9 says, "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world." We most often think Satan deceives the world through "misinformation." He does, but there is also a spiritual dimension to it that makes it nearly impossible for people to resist.
Humans are intelligent enough to sort out fact from fiction. But what if they are given truth but do not have the mind that inclines, compels, or motivates them to accept it? They will not accept it. Does not God have to lead those He calls to repentance before they will accept His Word (Romans 2:4)? Does this not suggest that He works in a way to make their minds willing to accept truth? Absolutely.
— John W. Ritenbaugh
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