I was studying the story of Israel making the golden calf found in Exodus 32 recently. As I dug deeper into the story I was stopped short by something I hadn't noticed before. And it made me stop and think for a while.
In Exodus 32:2 Aaron tells Israel to take off the gold earrings they are wearing and bring them to him. Verses 3-4 go on to say that these were used to make the make the golden calf that Israel worshipped.
God's Gift to Israel
It was a connection to where Israel got this gold from in the first place that stopped me. Israel was wandering in the desert. All they had was what they had taken them when God led them out of Egypt.
Exodus 12:35-36 says: "The Israelites did as instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for, so they plundered the Egyptians."
The gold that the Israelites gave Aaron to make the golden calf to worship instead of the true God in Exodus 32, came from this. They used the gold that God gave them from the Egyptians when they left to make an idol to worship.
They took God's good gift to them and made it into a false god that they then worshipped.
I hadn't made the connection until the study I was working through helped me to. My first thought on reading that was "ouch." A bit of a slap in the face for God from His people.
Turning God's Good Gifts Into Idols in Our Lives
I quickly realized how easily we do the same thing in our lives. Just as the Israelites did, we can easily take the good things God gives us and make them into false gods in our lives. We don't want to admit that's what we do, but if we get honest we can see how we do that.
As example would be when we take a job we have that we are good at. A job where the skills and ability to do it are good gifts we have been given by God. Instead of worshipping God in how we use those good gifts, we begin to focus on the skills and abilities we were given. Our lives being to revolve around them - we put them against God. We have taken God's good gift to us and make it into a false god that we're worshipping instead of God.
There are many areas of life we can do that. We can do it with our families, with money, with our possessions, with power. Whatever the area, the result is the same, we've put up a false god in our lives and are no longer worshipping the true God - even if we say differently.
Are there areas in your life where you have taken God's good gift to you and turned it into a false god?
If there is, we need to confess those to God and ask His forgiveness. Then we need to ask for His help to tear down that idol and put Him back in the right place in our lives. He will help us do that, if we ask Him.