Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods beforeme…” Exodus 20: 1-3 (ESV)
“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 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.”
Exodus 32: 1-4 (ESV)
How are you doing with your idols? Don’t have any? Great.
The scripture set out above in Exodus 20, is one of the many moments of conversation which God and Moses had in the journey of the Israelite nation toward the Promised Land.
Here, Moses had now gone up onto Mount Sinai to learn even more from the Lord. To spend some time with the Lord he loved, as God laid out for him the laws and expectations He had for his people, that the Lord would expect Moses to share with the Israelites.
Laws, directions, and expectations—all for their good.
But this time, Moses was gone a bit longer than their patience would allow, and the Israelites were feeling insecure again. And they resorted to their favorite pastime—whining. Moses was their leader, and represented God to them, and they needed him there, they needed him to follow, to go before them, to be with them. But where was he?
So they decided they needed another leader, another “god” to go before them, at least until Moses got back from his campout on the top of the mountain. In Egypt before God had rescued them from slavery, they had been exposed to many Egyptian gods, a number of them of, or with, an animal image. The Egyptians had worshipped these.
And so with the help of Moses’ brother, Aaron, and at his direction, the Israelites gathered all the gold rings from the ears of their wives, sons and daughters, and Aaron took them and created an idol of a golden calf for them. When he saw their commitment to it, he even built an altar before it, signifying it as something to be worshipped.
The golden calf. Their new “god.” Their idol.
At some point, God obviously diverted his focus from his conversation with Moses on the top of Mount Sinai to see what was going on in the flatlands below, and when He did, He wasn’t happy with what He saw going on.
I wonder what God might see looking down on us and all that is going on in the world today. In our governments, institutions of learning, businesses, and even in our churches and homes. Maybe a Golden calf or two somewhere? Certainly not in my house, and not in yours’, right?
Let’s look closer, which I suspect He would do. Happy God?
In his book “Counterfeit Gods” Timothy Keller shares that an idol “is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God,”
Similarly, and by another name, he says that “a counterfeit ‘god’ is anything so central and essential to your life, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought.”
Notice any golden calves around you?
I wonder if God would see any in my life—in my heart, or in my home.
How about some of these? Is money an idol, a golden calf, to you? What about comfort, or stuff, or peer approval? How about your career, family, children, trophies and championships, or following your favorite professional or college team in sports? What about your all-consuming drive, at times, for awards and the recognition by your peers in your career as the best? How about the house, or car, your social standing and acceptance among friends and in community circles? What about a political position or a social cause?
I believe I hear God calling, maybe even getting close.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me…”
You shall have no other gods before me.
How are we doing with that?
Just something that maybe we need to think about today and every day.
In His Name—Scott