Gold or God?
Scripture reading for January 30th: Exodus 32-34
We are wired to worship! Worship is something that effects our whole person. We can get emotional, dance, shout, sing, and enjoy ourselves in worship. But worship isn’t supposed to be about us and is not to be focused on us and our pleasure. It is ascribing worth to the object of our worship (God) by us taking a lower place and using our bodies, minds, and souls to express our appreciation, desire for submission, and honor to God . What we worship, we will serve. For example, we cannot worship both God and money!
God had brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to worship Him. He desired to live in the midst of His people and receive their appreciation, submission, and honor. He understood that they needed help to know and trust Him and freely offer their appreciation, submission, and honor to Him. It was on Mt. Sinai that Moses met with God to receive His instructions for the people and then the instructions for the place and manner of worship. God is holy and those who worship Him must be holy and approach God freely, thankfully, and obediently.
While Moses was away with God for forty days, the people got restless. They gathered around Aaron and asked him to make them ‘gods’ to lead them. (Exodus 32:1) Aaron told them to take off their earrings of gold and bring them to him. He took the gold, melted it down, shaped it with a tool into a calf, and presented this to the people as their god. Then he announced a festival to the Lord, with feasting and offerings offered on an altar in front of the calf. The people brought their offerings and then began to party (Exodus 32:5-6).
As we think about this scene, we can see how easy it is to follow our natural inclinations. A ‘god’ must be valuable so the people brought their gold to Aaron. A ‘god’ must be powerful and lead them so Aaron made a golden “calf”. This was probably one of the ‘gods’ of Egypt that represented strength and virility. Their worship started out with an offering but then progressed to eating and drinking and then to pagan revelry which included sexual immorality. The flesh always wants a ‘god’ that allows freedom to indulge! What a person worships, he will serve! (Luke 16:13)