Adoration of the Golden Calf
Nicolas Poussin, c. 1634
In those days…every man did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 17:6
The book of Judges in the Old Testament could be called the “Book of What Not to Do.” Time and time again, God delivers His people Israel from bondage, oppression, and captivity. Time and time again, the Israelites quickly turn away from the one True God to worship foreign gods. Repeatedly during the Exodus from captivity in Egypt, God called them, “a stiff-necked people” (Ex 32:9).
Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the Lord, and come to his sanctuary, which he has sanctified for ever, and serve the Lord your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. 2 Chronicles 30:8
When we read the Old Testament, we wonder how a people could be so unyielding toward the God who performed so many miracles of provision and protection for His chosen ones. But are we any better than they were? What gods do you worship in your life? Do you truly “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Dt 6:5)?
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Deuteronomy 20:1-6
Look at the mess around us. We are living in a depraved and despicable culture. God has been eclipsed. We are reaping the rewards of the bad seed we have sown. We need to root out everything in our lives that does not give honor and glory to the God who made us. Like the Israelites, we have turned our back on God and worshipped foreign gods.
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
What are you seeking in life? Are you focused on growing in holiness or just getting through another day? Take an accounting of how you spend your time. Honestly assess how much time you spend daily on social media, entertainment, work, chores, time with family and spiritual activities. What occupies the greatest part of your day or week? Is God the first priority in your life? Check out our blog post “Balancing Priorities in Marriage and Family Life” to help you in this discernment.
In working with couples who are struggling in their marriages, all too often we find spouses spending most of their free time on electronic devices viewing social media, watching videos or playing games. Others get involved in activities outside the home, anything to keep from being home because home is uncomfortable. Spouses are not interacting with each other or their children. These are the gods we worship today at the expense of our closest relationships.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
God has a better way. He created us for communion with Him and each other. Turn away from all false gods and seek the one True God with all your heart, mind, and strength. This is the true source of joy and happiness. This joy and happiness will radiate to those around us and lead them to seek the Lord. Our culture will only turn around to the extent that it finds Jesus, the source of life.