This past week, while reading a familiar Bible story, I saw something I’d never noticed before. Of course, it had been there all the time. But isn’t that just like God? He is constantly teaching us. His Word is living and active, applicable to every situation of our lives. Relevant today and tomorrow and always (Hebrews 4:12).
But, I digress.
I was reading the story of the Israelites worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:1-35). Moses had been on the mountain speaking with God and the people had grown impatient. They were tired of waiting on Moses to bring back God’s law. They were tired of waiting on God.
So, instead of waiting on the Unseen, the majority chose a path of their own making.
They seemed to have forgotten how God had already provided. He raised up Moses as their leader. He brought ten plagues on the land of Egypt. He brought them out of Egypt with plunder from the Egyptians – gold, silver, and clothing (Exodus 12:35-36). And He divided the sea so they could cross on dry land.
Worship gone wrong
Now, just a few short weeks later, the people traded an all-powerful God for a god of their own making. They essentially ganged up on Aaron and demanded him to provide an idol – a god they could see. A god they could control. And Aaron complied.
Aaron gathered the plunder from Egypt – the gold God had prompted the Egyptians to give. And he used it to fashion a golden calf, an idol.
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.” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. Exodus 32:4-6
The people rejected God and instead worshipped the thing He had provided.
Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? And yet we do it all the time.
Do we worship the provision or the Provider?
God provides us with jobs, homes, relationships, money, clothes, and cars. And while we may not literally bow down before them and offer an animal on the altar of sacrifice, we worship them just the same.
We make them our priority. We value them above all else. We give them our first, our best, our devotion. We worship the things God has provided instead of our Provider.
So, what is your golden calf? What threatens to take God’s rightful place in your life?
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