4 Do not turn to idols or make cast images of gods for yourselves; I am the Lord your God
These words from the Lord echo the first and second commandments God gave Moses at Mt. Sinai. The commandments were established to remind Israel of their distinction as a holy people, set apart from the rest of the nations. They had been chosen, they had been delivered, and now they were being led toward the Promised Land in fulfillment of the covenant God made with Abraham.
Yet while Moses was still on the mountain, the people of Israel grew impatient and decided to take matters into their own hands. For whatever reason, they were convinced Moses was not coming back. While they could have just packed up and left on their own, they instead came to Aaron, asking him to make “gods who shall go before us” (Exodus 32:1). They wanted something to deliver them. They were willing to follow whatever would give them an immediate escape from the mountain, so they could presumably pick up where Moses left off. But in fact, they had NO idea what they would have been in for, had they gone through with that plan.
And neither do we.
A few years ago, my husband and I faced a medical crisis that, without insurance, would have left us hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Even after insurance was applied, we were left with tens of thousands to pay back. With one average income and three small children, that was a daunting mountain before our eyes, and we too wanted to escape. Personally, I wanted to escape to the beach or to Disney or to some new city like so many of my friends were doing. Every scroll on social media revealed smiling faces and picture-perfect scenery that soon planted a seed of resentment in me.
I became so consumed with missing out on a vacation that instead of being thankful my husband’s life was saved, I resented the debt we incurred. I had made a god out of a vacation by assuming it would relieve me from the financial strain we were suddenly in. Like the Israelites who forgot God’s deliverance from their slavery in Egypt, I forgot God’s grace in delivering my husband from death—and me from life as a 29-year-old widowed mother of three.
Paying off debt takes time (thankfully not 40 years, although some days it feels like it), but it sure beats the damaging cycle of trying to be like everyone else in the name of escaping from the current reality. The Israelites were so willing to escape their reality of wandering in the desert that at one point they said they would rather go back to Egypt!
Praise God for His covenant with Abraham. Praise God that He is faithful despite our infidelity. Let us not forget that He is a sovereign God who loves us more, provides for us more, and guides us more than anything we could ever envision. He is our one true God, our Father, our provider and our deliverer. He is matchless. No one (and no thing) compares with Him.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- In what ways have you created an idol as a means of an escape from a trial you were or are currently in? What sort of “fulfillment” do those false promises of deliverance actually bring?
- Despite having a sovereign and loving God, why do we rely on modern day idols to give us some sense of comfort?