Is this really happening?
That’s the question I had as I read Exodus 32 recently. I knew the story – the one of God’s people fashioning a golden idol at the base of Mount Sinai – but somehow it seemed so much more outrageous.
The people worked together to construct a statue to worship. They set up an altar before it and offered real sacrifices to it. And it’s their declaration that really astounded me. Pointing to the lifeless idol, they said, “‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’"
What?!? Is this really happening?
These are the same people who had witnessed the true God strike their enemies in Egypt with 10 supernatural plagues. They had walked through the sea as God parted the waters. They had eaten miracle bread in the desert. They had seen the glory of God lead them in pillars of cloud and fire.
They were death-bound slaves, saved by God and now freed to live.
But here, they just took off their golden earrings, no questions asked. All of the sudden, the mighty and merciful God of their deliverance was so easily replaced by a golden fake cow god.
They forgot God. Is this really happening?
But I’m the same way. I forget God.
God has done even more for me than He did for the Israelite slaves. He has pardoned my sin. He has joined me to His family. He has made me new. He has fully satisfied and sustained me. He has promised me that I will be with Him forever.
But most days, I’m making idols.
I’m more interested in setting up something else to claim as my god. I choose my favorite sins or my accomplishments or my fears or my kids or my finances or my possessions and give them all my attention and worship.
And I forget God.
I wonder, what if someone – anyone – that day while the Israelite idol was being made would have just interrupted with a simple reminder, “Hey, wait! Remember the God who led us from oppression and into freedom? Remember the God who has kept us all along the way? Remember the God who is right now leading us to a new and better home? Why don’t we pass on this golden fake cow god idea?"
I, too, need reminders of God’s great salvation for me. I need to rehearse the Good News. I need the Word of God before me and the church of God around me, continuously pointing me to God and His Gospel. I need reminders so that I keep the idol-making tools put away. So that I am single-minded, directed fully toward the mighty and merciful God of my deliverance.
I do not want to forget.