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May He Keep Us from Idols

Exodus 32 tells us a sad story in the history of Israel. Moses had been up on the mountain meeting with God and receiving the instructions for the building of the Tabernacle. He had received all the details of furnishings according to the pattern God had shown him. He had delayed to come down and the people grew weary waiting for him. Rather than continuing to worship God dependently as Moses had instructed, they told Aaron to make gods for them. 

Aaron gathered gold from them and fashioned a molded calf. He built an altar before it and proclaimed a feast. The people brought offerings, feasted and rose up to play. Scholars tell us that probably involved sexual immorality. How sad to us that the people turned so quickly to idols rather than following God Who had delivered them so recently from bondage in Egypt!

We can look at this incident and think to ourselves that we would never turn away from our God to worship idols. But that would be a foolish thought, wouldn’t it? 

Perhaps if we had been there to interview one of the people involved, we might have asked why he had turned to an idol. He might have responded, “O, I’m not worshiping an idol. I’m still following God and I worship Him. I’m just enjoying the feasting and the partying.” He may never have given a thought that there was anything wrong with what he was doing. 

Can we find ourselves in the same position without giving deeper thought to our hearts?

We might say to ourselves and others, “I don’t have any idols. I’m still following God and I worship Him. I’m just enjoying the feasting and the partying (or the sports, or the entertainment, or the comfort, or the material possessions, or the leisure, or whatever else we give such a strong place in our lives).”

Perhaps it’s true that none of those things have become idols. Perhaps we’re keeping them in their proper place. Perhaps God still has first place and nothing takes priority over our time with Him. Perhaps we know that our real satisfaction is found only in Him. Perhaps we never forget that we’ve been delivered from bondage to sin and called to a new life in Christ. 

But perhaps the call of other things at times pulls our hearts in a different direction. Perhaps we can be deceived about the idols of our hearts. Perhaps we sometimes enjoy the feast and the party to the detriment of our relationship with Him. May He guard our hearts. May He keep us from idols.

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