The principal god of Egypt later became a god of Israel, a great sin (I Kings 12:28). Turning from the Living God to a molten calf reveals how deceptive “worship” can be.
And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him (Ex. 32:1).
Our attention has been on the Tabernacle and its marvellous picture of Christ in His glorious Person and perfect ministry for mankind. But at the same time, something tragic is taking place among the Israelites. Moses returns to the camp to behold how quickly and how far the Israelites had turned from the True and Living God.
They imagined that a calf, which they could see, was better than the invisible, yet ever-present God. Only six weeks before, all the people had sworn: All that the Lord hath spoken we will we do (19:8). Whenever something is needed to remind us of the Lord, too often we have chosen a visible counterfeit to replace His invisible reality.
It seems strange that there was no voice of protest from the elders or even from Miriam. Surely the decision was not unanimous. Perhaps, they were like some of us — when it seems that the misguided majority are loudly proclaiming what we know to be against the will of God, yet we do not protest. In such times silence becomes a sin.
Whenever anyone or anything takes the place that God should have in our lives, it is rebellion and sin. The human heart loves anything that can be seen — that which meets and gratifies the senses. We need to remember Moses' example: By faith . . . he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible (Heb. 11:27).
But before we too quickly throw stones and voice condemnation, let us compare the problem of the Israelites with twentieth century conduct. Most of us would not bow down to a graven image, but how easily money or career become similar idols. For others, the idol may be success or material things. Believing we've got to have more and more, our love and devotion for the Lord diminishes as things take His place.
Perhaps an even more subtle danger lies in surrounding ourselves with friends or business associates who are not Christians. Soon our social lives revolve around unbelievers. This may lead to spiritual fellowship with other Christians being crowded out and eventually forsaken.
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46).
Thought for Today:
Too often it is those who are rich in this world's goods that rule the Church instead of those of this world rich in faith (James 2:5).
As the One who is ever-present. My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest (peace) (Ex. 33:14). He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Heb. 13:5; compare Matt. 11:28; John 14:27).
32:12 mischief, evil intent; 32:20 strawed, scattered; 32:25 made them naked, let them get out of control; 34:10 terrible, marvelous, awesome.
Pray for Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Officials: Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (CA), Rep. Linda T. Sanchez (CA), Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (MS), Rep. Lou Barletta (PA), and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH) • Country: Panama (3 million) in southern Central America • Major languages: Spanish and English • Limited religious freedom • 78% Roman Catholic; 12% Protestant; 5% Muslim; .1% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: If the words of God abide in you, whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive (John 15:7).
Optional Reading: Matthew 28
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 100:5