Earrings Into Idols
Background Story: God delivered the Israelites from 430 years of captivity in Egypt. Moses has gone up the mountain to get the 10 Commandments from God. While he is away, the people get restless and come up with a new plan.
Read Exodus 31:18-32:8
18 When the Lord finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
32-1 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
2 Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 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.”
5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 6 So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.
7 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt,have become corrupt. 8 They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’
Big Idea: Any blessing can become an idol.
Let’s rewind. The Israelites were delivered from 430 years of slavery in Egypt. As the Israelites were leaving Egypt, we read in Exodus 12:35-36, “They had asked the Egyptians for things made of silver and gold and for clothes. And the Lord had given the people favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. So the Egyptians let them have whatever they asked for. And they took the best things of Egypt.”
As God led them out of their slavery, He blesses them with the “best things of Egypt.” Fast forward… now we find the same Israelites taking some of those “best things” that God gave them and turning them into a gold calf idol to worship. Aaron (Moses’s brother) “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.” This golden calf is what brought them out of Egypt? What a slap in the face that must have been to God.
How could they replace the God who had just parted the Red Sea with a god made of melted gold earrings? Yet before we yell at the Israelites, let’s have a personal heart check. How many times do we take the blessings God has given us and elevate them to an improper place making them into an idol? An idol can be anything….your intelligence or success in school, athletic ability, beauty, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, parents, money, leaders or celebrities, jobs, and the list keeps on going. Your parents can even turn you into an idol.
The Bible says in James 1:17 that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” We can take the gift and blessings from God and give them misplaced power and prominence in our lives. As we depend on it, rely on it, and place it in such importance, we can be like the Egyptians and believe the lie that this, “is what brought you out of Egypt.” We can believe this created thing is what is going to come through for us in the future instead of the God we serve.
So how do we do to prevent this from happening? How can we keep a blessing from becoming an idol? Everyday we give these blessings back to God. We stop holding onto them, believing that they are ours and recognize that these blessings came from God and are His to use for His glory. By daily surrendering our talents, abilities and blessings back to God, we allow them to stay in their proper place. Today, do a heart check asking God if there are any blessings that have become idols in your life. Repent of any idolatry and ask God to be first in your heart again.