They worshiped idols, just as the Scriptures say, “The people sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up to dance around.” So don’t worship idols.
1 Corinthians 10:7 CEV
The second issue that cost many to be cast away in the wilderness by God was the issue of idolatry. Now, there could be many ways of defining idolatry, but we will stay true to the particular incident in the wilderness that Paul made reference to in this verse. It was the Golden Calf incident in Exodus 32.
The Israelites waited for Moses, they hoped he will come back soon enough and lead them on the journey. However, days turned into weeks, and weeks into a month, and there were no signs of the man Moses who was to lead them. The people began to be uncomfortable. They began to feel that Moses had abandoned them, they began to feel vulnerable at the thought of following that which they cannot see, and touch. They did not understand the ways of the Lord Almighty, and His humble servant, Moses, so they sought to make for themselves a god they could see, touch and understand with their senses. Something more ‘sensible’.
This is the challenge with us today, isn’t it? The Lord is too unpredictable. We are trying to understand Him with our senses but we are failing at it. We do not know how we could bank our entire life and future on a Being we cannot see, and on a story we never witnessed. We speak so much of faith, but when it comes to practical realities, we find it rather too much to trust in He who we cannot see, and who we cannot really predict.
So, we naturally remove our eyes and heart from the Lord, and put it on that which we can see. We set up our idols and begin to worship them. You know your heart has shifted to idolatry when you begin to trust anybody or anything for a secure future apart from God.
For some, we turn to the servants of the Lord. We bombard them everyday with questions. Why is the Lord not helping me? Why is He not answering my prayers? Why? Why? Why? Unfortunately, they are mere men. They do not know all the intricacies of God’s thought patterns. So, we feel disappointed that they are not being there for us, and we turn to some other things.
Some turn to ‘men’, hoping that connections and ‘who you know’ will help them secure a brighter future. Some turn to their own strength and ability to hustle, some turn to their certificates and academic attainments, and oh, some turn to drinking and smoking. In all we are looking for something to touch. The Lord is too unpredictable. So, we’ll rather spend our time doing every other things, than spending time to worship God. You know you are slipping into idolatry when you no longer have time for the Lord, nor enjoy worshipping in His presence. Face it, you are just plain busy servicing your real god.
Also note that in order to make that idol, they took it out of the store of jewelry that the Lord, in His Mercy, had given them. Is it not ironic that we always have that tendency to turn things, even what the Lord gave us, into an idol. We stop getting our sense of safety and assurance from the Lord, and we push it to one object or the other. In time, we will see ourselves begin to misbehave and do things not pleasing to God, because our eyes are no longer on Him, but on another.
I charge you like brother John, beloved, let us keep ourselves from idols (1 John 5 vs.21), and may our eyes keep on the Lord, who though invisible, is altogether real and can be trusted. Amen.
PRAYERS: Dear Lord, I confess that sometimes I tend to doubt you, because I do not understand you. I tend to turn to other things for answers and for leadership instead of keeping my trust in you. Forgive me, and by your Grace, I will watch over my heart to keep it on you. Nothing and no one will be my confidence and assurance in life, or guide me in the way apart from You. In Jesus Name, Amen.
After-word : Please be careful how you seek guidance and leadership for your life, especially as a Christian. You should not be caught looking at horoscopes, or trying to decipher your star, or reading palms and all the others. Neither be ye quick to run to prophets and prayer houses for guidance. Do you need guidance? Then seek the Lord, call upon Him and He will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know (Jeremiah 33 vs. 3).
For further reading: Exodus 32 vs. 1-29; 1 Corinthians 10 vs. 14-22; 1 John 5 vs. 21; 1 Samuel 28 vs. 3-25, 1 Corinthians 6 vs. 9.