“Papa, can we go for a ride in the back of your pickup and see the longhorns?” One of my neighbors lets some of the biggest longhorns I’ve ever seen graze on the grass, and my grandkids don’t seem to tire of checking out where they are in those big fields. When we get up close to these mighty beasts, however, they begin to shout a different cry, “Okay, Papa, that’s close enough!” We have also had some interesting discussions about the big bull and his activities.
Get close to a massive longhorn and it puts the fear of God in you. The tragedy for Old Israel is that while Moses was face to face with God on Mt. Sinai, they bowed down and worshiped this fertile, captivating power.
Moses, their leader, had disappeared into a cloud of mystery at the top of mountain. When he failed to return, they begged Aaron to make an image of a god they understood. He melted their jewelry and fashioned a young bull calf. Israel danced around the molten image and bowed in worship. This is the incident that the psalmist in Psalm 106:19-23 tells us not to forget.
“They made a calf at Horeb and bowed down in worship before the molten image. They exchanged their glory for the image of a bull, a grass eater. They forgot God, their Savior, who did mighty deeds in Egypt, wonders in the land of Ham, awesome deeds at the Red Sea. And He would have wiped them out were it not for Moses His chosen one—he stood in the breach before Him to turn back His anger—a righteous anger that would have destroyed them.”
I find that I can get riled up about the immorality I see among unbelievers, but I need to get more upset about the idolatry—the worship of virility and power—that I see in my own heart and the hearts of fellow believers. It’s one thing when unbelievers live for the highs of sex and power; it’s another thing when those of us who have been forgiven at Calvary do the same. It’s time to stop being captivated by mere “grass eaters.”
Lord, I want to join Moses today reminding you of the forgiveness provided in your Son’s death. Forgive us for forgetting that you are the only source of life. Your Old Covenant people had to be deported to Babylon before a remnant finally put the worship of sex and power behind them. Help us as your New Covenant people not to have to learn in this same school of hard knocks.
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