So, I admit it. When I get to Exodus 25-31, I get a little weary of the detailed description of the Tabernacle and all its furnishings, the priesthood regalia and the ceremonial dressing of the priests for service. Forty days of Moses on the mountain receiving the law from God proved too much for the short memory Israelites, and I’m not entirely without sympathy. I read a little faster through that section… well, quite a bit faster…it’s called skimming.
But as I look at the bookends of this more tedious part of Exodus, I have to wonder how we so quickly forget the great works of God that prove his love and care.They had just escaped 400 years of Egyptian slavery by the great power of God, walked through the Red Sea on dry land with a wall of water on either side, saw miraculous provision of water and food in the desert; then arrived at the mountain of God, saw and heard the evidence of God’s presence in fire and smoke, earthquake, and trumpet blast. (Exodus 19) They even heard God speak as He gave the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 20) They were so overcome with all of this that they said to Moses, Speak to us yourself and we will listen, But do not have God speak to us or we will die. (Exodus 20:19) That was an appropriate fear of God.
After hearing the Ten Commandments and the very practical case law of applying the Decalogue, they willingly agreed to live by this Book of the Covenant. Everything the LORD has said we will do (24:3) We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey. (24:7)
But 40 days later, after Moses has been gone up on the mountain, they grew restless, As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him. (32:1) And they demanded of Aaron gods they could see, a god of their own imagination, the Golden Calf, thus violating the first three of the Ten Commandments.
Not much has changed has it? We continue to invent our own gods, even claiming that it is the true God that we like to imagine this way or that, a designer God who would never punish sinners, who is tolerant of whatever aberrant behavior we choose to embrace, who endorses our political views, religious philosophy and materialistic lifestyle, who bends to our desired definitions of sexual identity, flexes with our attitudes about sexual ethics and marriage, who is surely willing to be whatever we want Him to be, as long as it makes us happy.
As you think about the god of your own imagination, how does that god compare to the true God revealed in the Bible? You can be sure the gods of our own imagination will not help us make wise decisions today and will not make us happier, nor will they help us on that day when we meet the true and holy God who is revealed in Scripture.