“We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”— 1 John 5:20-21
I am making a Golden Calf prop for a puppet show.
Today I bought heavy sparkly gold scrapbook paper and a wooden dowel. I looked online for pictures of calves and drew one on the paper with a pencil. Then I cut it out, stuck a piece of foam-core board on the back and attached the dowel with packing tape. Voila! Instant Golden Calf.
This prop will be used in an upcoming puppet skit. The Bible story from Exodus 32 describes how Moses went up the mountain to meet with God and the Israelites got tired and frustrated waiting for him to return. The people complained and moaned to Aaron (the unlucky one left in charge) and demanded that a new god be made. Obviously, they argued, God wasn’t following through and both He and Moses had forgotten about them. Aaron gave into their demands, collected gold from them, and fashioned it into a golden calf. The people were satisfied with their new god, and bowed low to it.
Of course, Moses had a fit when he came back down the mountain and saw them worshiping a gold statue, of a cow, no less, and the people were punished.
It’s a great Bible story (read Exodus 32 for more details), and we may scoff and think it’s ridiculous that people would melt gold into a statue shaped like a calf and worship it, but if we look hard, we might find ourselves in the story as well. An idol is anything we worship, anything we place before God. Anything that takes our time and focus and attention away from God being Number One in our hearts. We may have times where we feel frustrated and upset with God—-“God, where are you?” “What’s taking you so long?” We demand signs and change and answered prayers, and when our patience (the little we often have) wears thin, we believe that God has abandoned us.
So we turn to other things.
A wise pastor friend once said, “I have an i-Doll. And it looks an awful lot like me.” I’ve never forgotten that quote, one because it is a play on the word “idol” and second, because I think it’s true. When we feel God has turned away or can’t be counted on, we begin to look to our own iDoll’s, our own devices, our own selves as the answers. We fill our time with anything that will satisfy us temporarily, setting aside the God of the universe for a fake. An Instant Golden Calf.
The Good News is that Jesus came for people such as you and me, people who make ourselves Number One instead of God. Jesus came and died for us, so that He could bridge that gap between us and God, so that we can know God and live with Him forever. We can have the real thing, not a fake. We can worship the one true God, not an idol. We can stand in God’s presence, forgiven and loved, with no fear of abandonment. Let’s turn to Him today, smash down the idols in our lives, and truly live!
Prayer—“God, you are the one true Lord. Search my heart, reveal idols I may have, and help me turn from them and back to You. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”