A Matter of the Heart
When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him" (Shemot / Exodus 32:1)
Incredible! How could they do such a thing! After all they had gone through. After all God had done for them. After years of bitter slavery, God delivers his people through great signs and wonders. They witnessed the ten plagues, they walked through the parted Sea, and they partook of Gods miraculous provision of food and water. And now that they are waiting for Moses to return from the mountain, they get impatient. Their impatience grows over a forty-day period to the point where they ask Aaron, Moses' brother, to make them gods.
Idols! They demanded idols! The great God of the universe delivers them and cares for them, and they want to worship a statue a statue of a cow! How could they go so wrong so fast?
The reason why they could so quickly trade the God of Israel for a golden calf is that they are just like us. Do we really think that we are so different from them? How far away from evil do we think we really are? Do we think that, for one reason or another, we are immune from heading down such a crooked path?
The people of Israel so easily turned to the worship of idols, because while they had been delivered from physical bondage, they were still confined to a spiritual prison.
The essence of that prison is the desire to worship the things of our own devising rather than devoting our lives to the God who created us.
We fool ourselves into thinking that the more we fill our lives with religion or spiritual activities, the better off we will be. The reality is there is nothing we can do to change our own hearts.
That is why years later the prophet Jeremiah would say:
So even though God had done so much for us in the past, we were unfaithful to him. But God had no intention of leaving us in that state:
God knew that we needed more than deliverance from external bondage, we needed a change of heart:
All along we have needed this miraculous inward change. The people of Israel worshipped a calf because that is what was in their hearts to do. And so we too will be forever worshipping the things of our own devising, unless we experience what Jeremiah foretold.
This experience can be ours through Yeshua the Messiah. Because of his sacrificial death and resurrection it is possible for us to be truly free. Once we realize our desperate need due to our bondage to sin, and look to Yeshua our Deliverer, we will know the freedom that Jeremiah foretold.
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