Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf,fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
It occurred to me on Sunday that this passage tells us something about idols. They promise the world, but they steal our blessings. Let me show it to you.
In Exodus 12:35-36 we read that:
The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favourably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.In other words, God gave them wealth when they left Egypt, as he had promised. When they get to the foot of Sinai they call on Aaron to create for them an idol to lead them into the promised land. The first thing that this idol takes is one of the blessings they had received from God which had proved his faithfulness and grace toward them.
The idol was created out of their wealth, and as a result it was the elevation of that wealth - it showed off the gold they had received, boasting in the blessing, not the blesser. Our idols so often do the same. We worship our money or our friends or our family or our relationships, and in doing so we sacrifice the true benefit of those things. They become our gods and we forget the true God who gave us those blessings.
What was the result for Israel? God's and Moses' anger resulting in the smashing of the two tablets of the law that God had just given Moses and the death of 3000 people for their sin. God doesn't take idolatry lightly, and we shouldn't either. As Paul said in Romans 6:23a: "the wages of sin is death". But through Jesus there is forgiveness - he took the punishment that we deserved on the cross so that anyone who puts their faith in him will be forgiven. "The gift of God is eternal life." (Romans 6:23b)
What is the result for us? If we persist in our idolatry and refuse to turn to Jesus for salvation then we are under God's wrath. Consequently when we die we will face God's judgement, and because you (like everyone else) are sinful, you will go to hell (assuming you are not a Christian).
If we are Christians then we don't have to fear that because we know that through Jesus there is complete salvation. But when we replace God with idols in our lives we lose a number of blessings temporarily. We lose our love for God. We lose our hope and peace that is in him, and we lose our fellowship with him. We are also more easily drawn into other sins when we take our eyes of Christ. Satan uses our idols to draw us away from God and keep us from serving him as we should.
What are the idols of your heart? What are the things that get between you and your worship of the one true God? How are they affecting your walk with him?
I hope that was helpful.