Remember the golden calf from when Moses went up Mount Saini to receive the 10 Commandments? Remember the people dancing around worshiping, singing the praises of that mighty golden calf? I always wondered about that. I remember being a kid and thinking, “Who the heck worships a golden calf? How stupid is that!” I remember thinking, “Why the heck would anyone dance around a hunk of metal in the shape of a small cow?” I remember cringing, “Weren’t they embarrassed?”
But the thing is, they weren’t. When Moses left his people behind to climb the mountain, those people quickly fell back to their pagan ways; they didn’t even see their own foolishness. They didn’t stop to think of what the scene looked like from high above, from the perspective of the mighty Angel Armies watching over the earth, not to mention from the Almighty God who, even then, was in the process of rescuing those very people.
Today many of us look at that worship and wonder how they could have been so foolish, how could they have worshiped something made by their own hands, how could they idolize a hunk of metal. We think we are smarter than the Jews following Moses, but we maybe miss the point.
The point isn’t that they worshiped a golden calf. It’s that they worshiped something other than God. We miss the point that the Satan was incredibly brilliant and powerful. As a fallen angel, Satan, has many of the powers the Lord’s angel armies have. He just chooses to use them to his benefit rather than to the Lord’s benefit.
Present Day Idolatry – Satan Offers Golden Calves
Satan is patient and crafty. He knew that silly golden calf would work on the early Jews because their roots were based in paganism. Today, he knows many of us would scoff at worshiping a golden calf, but we wouldn’t scoff at worshiping other things. We are weak, and Satan knows how to attract us; he offers us silly temptations we don’t recognize as golden calves.
He lures us away from God by offering us work on Sunday mornings. He calls men to hunt and fish during church times. He provides so many activities throughout our days that many of us fall into bed at night too exhausted to pray.
Satan also offers us more subtle idols. I’ve fallen prey to Facebook and social media, and, yes, even blogging, all of which take time and focus away from what is really important. I’ve woken up in the morning and grabbed my cell phone to check Facebook before I’ve even said good morning to the Lord.
Even our families can become more important than the Lord. When I fell in love with my husband, I placed him on a pedestal. Instead of loving him as God would have wanted, I idolized him, expecting him to carry the burdens and baggage I brought into marriage and to cure painful childhood memories. When he refused to help do so, I expressed disappointment in sometimes cruel and unfair ways.
I often marvel at the story of Isaac and wonder if I could have prepared to sacrifice my child. I don’t know the answer to that and am comforted that God has not presented me with that decision.
God never asks us for more than we can handle. I believe that when life gets to be too much, when God sees too much in our future for us to take He says, “Enough,” and He calls us home. For some of us that is painfully early. For others, He sees a long life of earthly purpose.
The devil is strong. He pulls at me every day: sometimes subtly, quietly, patiently, and other times loudly, extravagantly, in ways that make me think I just have to have whatever he is offering.
But I also know that God gives me the power to overcome those temptations. I know God is infinitely more powerful than Satan and that God does not allow Satan to tempt me or give me struggles too big for me to overcome with the Lord’s help. I think of Jesus and the temptations he felt and the struggles He went through, and I know God was with Him, God was in Him, even in His most human moments
Just as God is with us; God is in us, even in our most base moments.
I still wonder what the angels saw when they looked on the celebration of the golden calf, how foolish those people must have appeared, and I wonder how foolish I appear when I celebrate my own golden calves.
What golden calves pull you away from the Lord?