Today’s passage is a great reminder of what happens when we worship created idols in our lives over God. When we read about how quickly Israel turned away from God and created an idol to worship we are shocked (Gen 32). But, when we pause and take a deep look into our own lives, we don’t have to look hard to see that we give our worship to idols in so many ways.
The results of idolatry are disastrous in our lives.
We clearly see why in this account of Israel: God’s righteous anger burned against Israel for their idolatrous ways. So much so that His presence could not continue to be with them or they would be killed. God told Moses that He would send an angel to lead them forward from that point (not Him) and that the Tent of Meeting would be pitched outside the camp (not among them as the tabernacle was to be.) Israel had lost God’s presence. They had given their worship and trust to something other than God and for their sin they suffered separation from The Lord.
The same is true in our lives today. When we give our worship to anything other than God, it is sin, and we lose the presence and intimacy with God we could have had worshipping Him alone. We certainly aren’t making golden calf statues to worship….but let’s be honest….many of us worship a sports team, a lifestyle, a certain status, comfort, security, success, pleasure, and on and on it goes. Our hearts are created for worship and we will ascribe that worship to someone or something. But, if we desire the presence of God in our lives our worship can only be given to God. The problem is, our sin perpetuates these idols and we cannot be delivered from them on our own. We need someone to intercede on our behalf. That’s what Moses did. He interceded on behalf of Israel and God had mercy on the people who had turned their backs on Him and deserved no mercy.
I think you know where I’m going with this…Jesus Christ interceded on our behalf to satisfy God’s wrath against us and make a way for the presence of God, not to just live near us in a tent, but to live in us as the person of the Holy Spirit! (See Romans 8 for more on this). This is something that should absolutely amaze us. But not only that, the gospel clearly beckons the allegiance of our worship to be solely to God alone and leaves no room for anyone or anything else.
I’ll leave you with a few action steps:
• Spend time praying today that God would clearly identify idols in your heart that need to be repented of.
• Confess those idols to God.
• Trust in the intercessory work of Jesus.
• Discuss your struggle with the person who disciples you and ask them to pray for you.
• Seek further counseling from our pastoral staff if needed.
By: Matt Mofield