“Come, make us gods who will go before us…”  

This statement by the Israelites says a lot.  They were waiting for Moses to come back down the mountain after meeting with God and they were getting restless.  They were tired of waiting.  I get that sometimes.  I get tired of waiting too.  I get tired of waiting for the kids to take the dog out.  I get tired of waiting for the new shiny things I bought on Amazon to show up at my door the next day.  I get tired of waiting for people to do what they promised they would do.  And, I get tired of waiting on God from time to time.

I can, however, say that I have never made the statement that the Israelites did though.  I have never tried to make gods for myself.  Or have I?  Truth is, while most of us have never said these words, we have done similar things.  Here are 3 ways I see how we do this in our own lives.

  1. We exalt the practice more than we do God.  I see this all the time in the church world.  We get so tied to the way things used to be, how we have done them in the past, or the way we engaged before that we forget about the why behind it all.  We end up worshiping the method more than we do our God.  Our methods…or our “how”… become our gods.
  2. We allow allow our money to sit where God belongs.  Jesus told us very clearly that we cannot serve both God and money.  One of them will always end up on top.  For many of us, we allow our money to dictate our lives more than God.  Therefore, God becomes subservient in our lives to our money.
  3. Finally… I think this is most prevalent…we allow something else to influence our faith rather than allowing our faith to influence our lives.  We are currently in a series that talks about this specifically in regards to our politics.  Our big idea?  Your faith should influence your politics.  Not the other way around.  This is true for every area of our lives.  Too often we allow other things to be a louder influence in us than God.

Sure…I have never said what the Israelites said…but I would be lying if I told you that there were never times in my life when I welcomed golden calves into my life.  In fact…I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t create them myself from time to time.  The Israelites were not some sort of an extreme group of sinners.  They were people just like you and me, trying to figure out this whole faith thing.  And along the way, we get things out of sorts occasionally.

As you think about the story in Exodus 32 of the golden calf, what comes to mind in your life?  What are the golden calves you have welcomed in or created yourself that take your focus off of God?  

Asking yourself these questions is important.  It is important because, if left unchecked, your golden calf can put you in the same position that the Israelites found themselves.  They replaced God with something else.  In fact, they said it themselves clearly in verse 4: “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

They placed the credit that God deserved upon the golden calf.  They gave the honor that God deserved on something else.  The golden calves in our lives are a serious matter because they draw us away from Him.  We do well to pay attention to what those things are in our lives.

About the Author: Tony Johnson
Tony Johnson is the lead pastor of 2|42 Community Church where he is helping people take next steps with God. Prior to his time at 2|42, Tony served for 15 years in various capacities within the Methodist denomination. He has degrees in broadcasting and marketing from Vincennes University and Ball State University, and he’s also a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary. Tony is passionate about helping people discover and embrace their God-given purpose and potential. In his spare time, you can find Tony cheering on the Miami Dolphins or camping and fishing with his family.

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