May 18

They have made themselves gods of gold. Please forgive their sin.  Exodus 32: 31-32 NIV 

Gods made with hands are not gods. Acts 19:26 

Like so many verses in the Bible, it’s all too easy to read Exodus and scoff at the Israelites for losing their faith in God and building a golden calf to worship. In their frustration for wandering in the desert and waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain, it seems that they are trying to combine bull worship (Apis was a sacred bull in Egyptian mythology that was worshiped as a god) and worshipping God (after Aaron melts down the earrings that people are wearing to create the golden calf, he builds an altar before it and says “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord” (Exodus 32:5), though I’m uncertain if by “Lord” he means the Lord our God, or the lord their god. 

Either way, I say to myself, Moses is speaking with God personally on the mountain.  How can they not follow the instructions that Moses is giving them after that when he tells them to be patient and stay faithful to God? 

Then again, Matthew 7:5 reminds me: You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 

There are plenty of modern-day idols and idolatry, whether we choose to see it that way or not. Our lives seem full, or appear that way on the outside, but we find ourselves feeling empty inside. Instead of filling up the empty spaces with God, or with working to share God’s love by helping others, we try to fill up with things. Have you ever stood in a crowded place and felt lonely? Looking at all our belongings or at a big bank account (which somehow can never be big enough for us – if you won a million dollars, do you think would you be satisfied with it, or bemoan the fact that you didn’t win a billion dollars), can make us wonder why it still isn’t enough to fill us up. 

If it’s not money or belongings, our culture always seems to be looking to put someone up on a pedestal.  Being an excited fan of a singer or sports figure or movie star can be or seems like it should be harmless enough, but if they are overshadowing the role of God in your life, it’s idolatry.  Even how we view politicians can be idolatry – they make promises and we cheer, certain that they will solve all of our problems, turning our back on God and his laws to follow someone all too human who will change their mind or conveniently forget what they said. 

We should remember that the one who can always be trusted to solve our problems, even when they are caused by our own actions, and to stay true to His promises to love us, listen to us, and care for us unceasingly, is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for your patience and kindness with us when we go down the wrong path in life, choosing to follow money, fame, and things that will never fulfill us or make us as happy as you can.  We pray that you will give us the heart to turn against our sinful ways and look to you for guidance as we go about our daily lives. Amen
Lynda Tysdal