Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Golden Calf

"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."
 2 Aaron answered them, "Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me." 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 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,  O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt." Exodus 32:1-4

Last night, as I was dozing off to sleep, I randomly began to think about what I might blog about this morning.  I do that sometimes, and some scripture verses will come to mind and I'll be able to mull on them a while before going to sleep. Last night, as I though to myself, what shall I blog about tomorrow, I got a blazing mental image in my mind of the great golden calf.  Huh.

So I spent some time dwelling on it. I was thinking about the Israelites- how could they?  Really.  How could they have experienced all this wonderful, miraculous stuff from God and then turn around and start worshiping a golden calf?  It doesn't make any sense at all.  Moses was on that mountain for 40 days, and they couldn't even go that long before they started demanding that Aaron make them an idol to worship.  They crossed the Red Sea on dry land.  They watched Pharaoh and his armies be obliterated before their eyes.  And yet they wanted an idol to worship.

And then it came to me.  I thought about that golden calf, and I thought about how it hadn't been all that long, and already the Israelites were turning to something else instead of God, and I saw that the Israelites were only being human.   While we may not be taking off our jewelry and making idols with it, we may have our own golden calf that's taking the place of God. Yikes.

Just yesterday, I had an incredibly busy day (and another one today) where I was literally doing two things at once all day long.   When lunch time rolled around, I prepared my lunch, and my usual habit is to sit at the table and do some Bible reading with lunch.  Yesterday though, I looked at my Bible, stared at it for a while and then thought to myself how this was such a busy day, I should go sit at the computer with lunch and check e-mails and message boards, because it would probably be the only time during the day I would get to do that.  And I did!  And do you know that later in the day I really felt badly about that.  I kept seeing myself in my mind choosing the computer over time with God.  So to think on that golden calf just before bed...

How many of us make golden calves in our life sometimes.  We can experience something wonderful from God, and then just a short while later, we're "too busy" to spend time with him.  This time of year in particular, that golden calf is often a football game, or TV shows that are starting back up again.  Our golden calf could be our jobs, our hobbies, or even activities with our kids.  The golden calf is the thing that takes our eyes off God, and takes the status of importance in our life.  When I choose to go sit at the computer and spend the time with people I've never even met in real life over spending time in my Bible and KNOWING that God will speak to me in that time, I've obviously made a really poor choice.

Because I know that God speaks to me personally a lot in my Bible reading time.  Almost every single time I open up my Bible and just spend time inside, something new comes to light that I've never seen before.  Or I'll see a scripture or two that directly apply to my current situation.  

But yesterday, the golden calf, gleaming and bright called to me from across the room and beckoned me to come spend some time, and I listened.

Thank God I am alive in the time of grace, and thank God we all are alive during this time, and not Old Testament time.   Because what happened to those golden calf worshipers?  They were put to death!

"Then he said to them, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.' " 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died."  Exodus 32:27-28

And those who didn't die directly were struck down with a horrible plague.

"And the LORD struck the people with a plague because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made."  Exodus 32:35

Dear God, please help me to not be like the Israelites.  Help me to learn from their example, and to not let the golden calves of this day distract me from the glory that is You. Help me to be more mindful of my choices each day, and keep me centered in Your perfect will.


mary grace said...

I love this post. Thank you so much for sharing something that I needed to hear today!

Erika W. said...

Thank you MG, I needed it as well. It was a very good reminder.