The Essential Jesus Day 7
Need for a Savior: Stupid Sin
PRAY: Gracious Lord, I sit here in the quiet to open myself up to you. Speak to me that I may hear your voice. Amen
READ: Exodus 32:1-33:6
REFLECT: The Hebrew people have experienced God in amazing ways! He sent the 10 plagues upon Egypt (Ex 7:14-12:30). He parted the Red Sea and delivered them out of Egypt from slavery into freedom (Ex 14:21-31). To help them find their way, God led them with a pillar of fire at night and pillar of cloud by day. When they were hungry, he fed them manna and quail in the desert (Ex 16:11-15). When they were thirsty, he gives them water out of a rock (Ex 17:3-7).
Now the Hebrew people are standing at the foot of Mount Sinai. The top of the mountain is covered with clouds, lightning and thunder. They have heard God speak to them (Ex 20:18-21). They are waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain to share God’s word with them. But they grow impatient. What is taking so long? Where is Moses? Can’t God just get it over with so we can go about living our lives? When do you get impatient with God?
Then they get this great idea—let’s build an idol! Since we can’t see God for real, let’s make a fake God. Something we can see and touch and control.
Aaron doesn’t seem to need much convincing, does he? He tells the people to bring him their gold and then uses it to make a golden calf. I am stunned with how quickly and easily they part with their gold for something as unimportant as a statue! Are we so quick to part with our own money for objects to fill our homes or garages? And then Aaron has the audacity to proclaim, “These are your gods who brought you out of Egypt!” Sounds a bit like Adam in yesterday’s reading, doesn’t he? Aaron doesn’t point out the error of their way. He simply goes along with the crowd. To make matters worse, Aaron builds an altar and throws a festival. The people also give up something of value—time, talents and treasure (gold)—in order to have an idol, offer sacrifices and throw a gigantic party! Gosh, they sound a lot like you and me.
But there are consequences for their sin. God tells Moses that whoever helped to make and to worship this idol will have his name blotted out of his book (Ex 32:33). God also strikes them with a plague (Ex 32:35).
APPLY: The dictionary defines an idol as a false god, an object, or person worshipped. What leads people to create idols today? What idols have you created in your life? To help you answer that question, consider the following: what do you spend most of your time doing when you are awake; what do you spend most of your money on; what do you spend most of your time thinking about? Your answers will reveal your idols. Idols can be “good” things—family, friends, sports, music—not just “bad” things—fame, fortune, sex, drugs. The question is whether they are more important to you than God. What do your idols cost you? What do you give up for your idols? Time? Talents? Treasure? How will you destroy these idols? What will you replace them with?
PRAY: Lord, I have so many idols—things I love and people I use that are more important to me than you. Please forgive me. Help me to destroy these idols and place you at the center of my life. Help me to use the time, talents and treasures you have given me to honor you and glorify you. Amen.