My Golden Calf

My Golden Calf

Abandoning the Right Faith for the Wrong Certainty
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As I was praying to God about what to write about this week, and resorting to the ill-advised yet surprisingly helpful technique of opening a random page of the Bible and reading, I came across the story of Moses as we climbed Mount Sinai and was given the Ten Commandments. I understood the story perfectly; I'd heard it before after all. While Moses was either climbing up or down from Mount Sinai, the Israelites at the bottom became anxious and asked a mysterious man, Aaron, to give them a new god that would go before them. "As for this fellow Moses who brought us out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him," they said. Aaron told them to give him the earrings of their wives, sons, and daughters, and with a tool, fashioned a golden calf. Then the Israelites, looking upon this golden idol, declared, "These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt."

The story was clear and yet...I was STUCK. I started to panic; something usually clicked in me about this time when I reach the end of a story, sometimes not even needing to finish before His inspiration spurs my mouth to speak and fingers to type. Surely, the spark would come anytime now...anytime...any...time...NOW. I stared at the pages of God's book and anger swirled in me at the blankness of my mind. What was He trying to say? How exactly was this story supposed to relate to my life? What was I supposed to say about this story if God did indeed want me to expand on it? Finally, I just closed the book and went about my day, occasionally praying for God to give me an update on any progress He'd made on giving me the words for my article. Still no reply. A seldom prayer: "Anytime God," I told Him.

More waiting...waiting...waiting. Another prayer: "You just gonna leave me hanging?" More anger...waiting...anger...more waiting. The last prayer: "Okay, fine. I guess I don't have an article." I watched the clock tick past midnight. It was Saturday, and I in bitter contempt, watched my perfect record of submissions go up in smoke. Then, as I was sitting on the couch the next day, watching "The Golden Girls," the words came to me: My golden calf. It's me! It took me days of contemplation and regrettably a late deadline for me to come to a real-life application, proving just how deeply and significantly this story affects my life and my relationship with God, as I suspect He already knew. How long do we wait for God before we say, "God, you're taking too long. I'm moving on?"

Thinking of "The Golden Calf" in retrospect changed everything. God has just released the Israelites from slavery. He has directed His wrath against the oppressors of His people. He has made rivers run with blood, hurled fire from the heavens, sent biting insects and locusts and wild animals across the land, struck boils and disease. He has ravaged livestock and spread darkness over the land of Egypt. He claimed the firstborn. He shielded them from the angel of death! He has parted the Red Sea, and now, He has promised them a beautiful and fertile land of milk and honey. After having the privilege to witness God's justice and command, to have any skeptical explanation wither in the face of His awesomeness, the Israelites make an idol because Moses is taking too long coming down from a mountain?! It was infuriating...or it had been before the connection came in that unsuspecting moment. Then it was just sad.

I am on a journey of my own; I am coming from my own land of slavery to sin to God's promise land of salvation, and that day, I was forced to wait. Whatever was supposed to happen, I didn't know; I was at the bottom of the mountain with no far view. All I had were the promises God made to me and the troubles and hardships he had gotten me out of to sustain me. I'd learned that in times of doubt, reading the Bible would more often than not give me the answer I needed, and I needed an answer desperately. I also knew the Bible could be a challenging; meditation and reflection go a long way in understanding a scripture. Instant inspiration doesn't always come, but the one time in a while that I came across a piece of doctrine that didn't click, did I pray to God for patience? No. Did I pray to God for understanding? No. Did I pray for guidance in case I'd misunderstood? No. I prayed to God to hurry up, and when He didn't, I turned away.

I was left on my own to uphold my faith and trust in God's deliverance for a few days and I faltered, no better than the Israelites who desired "a god to go before them" than waiting for Moses to descend a mountain. My golden calf isn't made of gold. It's not even a calf. It is a human girl named Ashley, and I turn to her every time I falter in my faith, choosing to trust in her potential failure than God's uncertain success. I have a big day of confession ahead of me, but in light of a well-spent word count, I'll say the most important: Thank you God, and please forgive me.

Cover Image Credit: Marymagdalen.blogspot.com

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Faithfulness Is Like The Clouds

God's faithfulness in our lives reaches higher than the clouds - that's pretty far.

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Psalms 36:5 "Your love Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies."

As I look out of the window in the airplane, I see the sun covering everything in its sight. And as I watch the sun cover the earth, I can feel the peace of God being to settle into my heart. We lift off the ground and I know His faithfulness travels with me wherever I go.

Something that I've learned in 2018 is that Gods' plan for my life is never late. He didn't messily throw my life together in 5 minutes, nor was He unwavering in the details of my life. He very cautiously knit together every moment of my life, even when I didn't understand why He chose to do what He did.

Over the past five months, I have been more aware of Gods faithfulness in my life than I have been in a very long time.

To make this story short, I did not grow up surrounded by extended family like most people I know. And while God has still been so good to me in my years growing up, I still had the small void in my heart that yearned for something more. Something that I had prayed to God in secret many times, but never intended to do anything about it.

This past summer I watched as God took that very desire of my heart and beautifully unravel them before my eyes in a plan that has been so intricately put together for years, but He chose to reveal it to me now. I watched as He taught me how to trust Him with everything in me, not just bits and pieces of me. I watched God reintroduce me into what it means to be proud of my culture and ethnicity in new and fresh ways. The dry and barren place of my heart that I felt could never see these promises that God had for me were beginning to come to life.

He gave me joy. Joy in people and in places that I lived 20 years without, but God knew one day He would surround me with. As I sat in the midst of conversations and togetherness, I was reminded that this was the very thing that I had prayed to God for so many years.

Our prayers are not insignificant to God. He holds every single one of them close.

So many times in my life I have asked God to just help me to understand what He's doing in my life. To just tell me why He's doing the things that He's doing. And so many more times after that, I have God remind me that maybe I'm not supposed to understand. Maybe I'm supposed to just let everything in me fall at His feet the same way that Mary did with Jesus. Maybe I'm supposed to constantly trust Him with every second of my life, even when I don't know the next step.

God never stops teaching me about His faithfulness, and I hope he never does stop. I hope in 2019 He brings me to places of growing more in what it means to invest in relationships, to speak into other lives about His goodness in mine. One significant thing that I learned recently is that Gods promises for our lives are never meant to run out. Just like His faithfulness in our lives are never meant to only happen for a few months. It is never ending and always secure. In Hebrews 10:23, It says "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."

..."For He who promised is faithful"

What a beautiful truth to know and to carry with us into this new year.

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