My Golden Calf.
Today is Friday and Josh will be teaching the MCM kids about the Israelites and their golden calf. I also taught this same bible account to the four to seven year olds at our church a couple of weeks ago. When the Lord makes me think on the same biblical account twice in close succession, I start wondering what He is trying to show me.
Yikes. That’s intense. Clearly, God takes all sin, including idolatry, seriously. Idolatry has consequences. Our God is a jealous God who will not share our affections or His glory with anyone or anything. Rightfully so. No other thing is even slightly comparable to Him. When we hear this account of the golden calf, we think it’s ridiculous. Celebrating a man made inanimate object seems preposterous to our modern American mindset. However, we are just as guilty of idolatry as the Israelites. Each person will be tempted to worship different idols such as: success, affirmation, relationships, money, security, etc. Almost anything can be made into an idol when our view of it and what it can do for us is skewed. Anything we deem more important than God is an idol.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this account, here is the general idea. Moses went up the mountain to meet with God, and clearly he wasn’t in a hurry to leave the Lord’s presence because the Israelites were getting impatient. They came complaining, which was their natural state, to Aaron accusing Moses of deserting them. They demanded that Aaron make a God who could lead them. Aaron gave in and gathered everyone’s gold jewelry and crafted an idol in the shape of a calf. The people began worshipping this useless image. God told Moses what the people were doing. In fact, He wanted to wipe out the people and start fresh with Moses. Moses pleaded with God to spare the people and forgive them for their idolatry. Thanks to Moses’ intercession, God relented. When Moses returned to the camp and saw the celebration he was so angry that he destroyed the calf, ground it into powder, poured it in the drinking water and forced the people to drink it. When Moses confronted Aaron, Aaron said something like, “the people made me do it! I just threw the gold in the furnace and out popped this idol.” Because their sin of idolatry was so serious in the LORD’s eyes, Moses had all of the Levites (priests) massacre their own people. About 3,000 people died as a result of idolatry.
My perfectionism must be dethroned. It is a horrible and useless idol. Just like the man-made cow could never lead the Israelites, my perfectionism cannot lead me. When I follow its lead I end up in a dark place of unmet expectations and disappointment. I don’t want to even visit, much less live, there any longer. With God’s help I can cast my idol down and ground it into powder. When I do, God can once again take his rightful place on the throne. When He leads, I am in a spacious place. It might be a place where I don’t have all the answers, but I have a good God who does.
So what am I deeming more important than God? My idea of perfection. My idea of perfection is so important to me that I doubt my God when my idea isn’t met. This translates to so many areas of my life. As a wife, I’m easily frustrated when my husband doesn’t communicate exactly how I think he should. As a mom, I often forget that my babies are truly still babies. They are going to act like babies, and I must extend them grace in the midst of the training. As a believer, I doubt my God when news like my mom’s cancer hits because it’s not in line with “my perfect plan”.