While out in the desert, the Israelites decided to melt down their gold jewelry to create an idol in the shape of a calf. They worshipped this baby cow made of gold. A calf of gold is what they chose to worship. How does that sound to you? It sounds crazy to me.
At this point in time, the Israelites were not too far removed from the miracles and plagues experienced firsthand in Egypt, and on the way out of Egypt. Do you remember these Israelites; the people discussed in the book of Exodus? These Israelites watched as Moses went before Pharaoh, time and time again, performing miracles and demanding that Pharaoh let God’s people go (that’s them!). They had watched as their God poured out plague after plague on the Egyptian people, while they remained untouched.
These Israelites experienced the presence of God as they left behind slavery in Egypt. These Israelites watched as God spread wide the waters of the Red Sea, leaving dry ground for them to walk on. Once they had crossed safely, they also watched as the walls of water collapsed on every last enemy that was in pursuit of them!
It is safe to say these people had reason to love God, reason to follow God, and reason to worship God. They had experienced His hand over the situations they faced. The Israelites had come upon circumstances that seemed hopeless, yet God provided a way (slavery, dead end into water, enemy in pursuit). These people had all of this; it was quite the backdrop.
And what did they choose to do? They chose to take their eyes away from God. The Israelites neglected all that God had done on their behalf, and they gave their full attention to a cow made of gold. They gave their worship to something made by their own hands. It sounds ridiculous. We wonder what they could have been thinking, right!?
Well, we do the same thing. Only it seems so justified in our daily life! We get so involved with our sports, our careers, our technology, our organizations, our education, our community, or even our significant others. We wrap ourselves up, our time and our commitment, in all the things we are taught to chase after in this world. None of these are inherently bad things. The problem is when our focus shifts from God to these things. The problem is when these things become an alternate for God in our lives, or get in the way of our relationship with Him. How often do we give our full attention to things of this world, the things that this world inundates us with and drives us to chase? How often do we passively take God out of the equation of our lives?
What is your golden calf? What is it you are giving your worship to before God? It is just as crazy for us to worship the things of this world, or our personal interests, as it was for the Israelites to bow before the casting of a gold animal. I mentioned all that had been done for the Israelites; how much has God done for us? How much has been done on our behalf? There is nothing greater in existence than the “saving grace” that He has offered to us in Jesus. How often has God made His presence known in the situations we face, in the circumstances that seem hopeless?
We know who God is. We know what He has done for us. Let’s make it a point to keep our focus on Him. Let’s make it our lives’ undying goal to put Him first in all that we do…because He is worth it. He is worth our passion, our time, our worship, and our committed dedication, like nothing else this world can offer. He is worth our all.
If we read on in Exodus, we see that devastation follows situations where worldly items, tasks, obligations, or desires are placed before God. Don’t let these things steal the attention that belongs to Him. He is almighty. He deserves to be our priority. He provided a way for us to spend eternity in His presence. He showed us great love through the gift of His son, Jesus. There is nothing that we can be living for more worthwhile than the cause of Christ.
No golden calf of this world will provide like He already has. Let’s put him at the forefront rather than giving Him side-note consideration. He is King. Put Him on the throne in your life; that’s where He belongs.
“It is safe to say we have reason to love God, reason to follow God, and reason to worship God.”