Today we bring you a blog post from one of Ni River’s own! Sam Law has served as one of the middle school girls leaders in our Rush Hour student ministry for many years. Check out her thoughts on the issue of idols.
A couple months ago I was lying in bed, tears streaming down my face, calling out to God asking him to wrap me up and make me whole. Hang with me as I stop there for a hot second and fast forward to my current consideration! The golden calf.
In Exodus most of us are probably familiar with the story of the “Golden Calf”. The Hebrews are led out of slavery in Egypt and constantly we see them gripe about their conditions of now freedom. When Moses heads up Mt Sinai to speak with the Lord and receive the Ten Commandments, Aaron and the rest of the Hebrews decide that Moses is taking just too long and they needed to make a god for themselves. They melt all the gold they have to make something new, something tangible, something to distract their present dismay.
“When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make us a god who will go before us because this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’
Then Aaron replied to them, ‘Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off the gold rings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from their hands, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made it into an image of a calf.
Then they said, ‘Israel, this is your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!’
When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; then he made an announcement: ‘There will be a festival to the Lord tomorrow.’ Early the next morning they arose, offered burnt offerings, and presented fellowship offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink, then got up to play.”
It’s so easy for me to watch/read this from the sidelines and think, “Wow guys, really”, these are the Hebrews who walked through a sea, right? I feel justified in pointing out their stupidity in creating a manmade god that never once did anything supernatural to reveal power and majesty like they had so much experienced with our Lord. How could they be so quick to fall into this trap? How could they be so tempted?
Fast forward again to that night of tears. As a single girl who loves everything inclusive to snuggles, hugs, and touch, I will honestly admit that most of my prayers to the Lord have been about asking Him to hold me and to let me feel it. And when I say feel it, I mean physically. I want to feel wrapped up tight, a hand at my back. I want him to brush away my tears and I plead to see reassurance in His eyes.
How can I be surprised than, that just like me there was something in the Hebrews that also desired something tangible. We want things we can see, touch, and become familiar with. There is comfort with it.
I am thrown into a memory of tears sliding down my face as I watched Tom Hanks sob over the loss of his Wilson in Cast Away. Who is Wilson? Rather, what is Wilson? A volleyball, extraordinarily personified! He never spoke words of comfort, never listened though words were spoken to him, and never returned the love that was bestowed upon him. Yet did not most of us (all of us) come to adore Wilson, as well? He filled a void.
Didn’t the golden calf do the same? Fill a void, comfort an emptiness or loss. Can we accept that the Hebrews are more like us than maybe we care to admit?
So what exactly are we supposed to do? How do we combat that desire we have and let him fill us 100%; even the places that we imagine he can’t fill because we can’t physically see Him. He made us; he knows our frailty more than we do.
Our direction in scripture is always to look up. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2) Keep your mind on the things that have way more weight, our salvation and the grace given to us and our brothers and sisters!
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit”. (Romans 8:5) Is it wrong to desire physical touch? Absolutely not, but which gap is bigger in our hearts? The gap of needing physical touch or the gap of needing God? I had to ask myself. Which lifestyle do I give more weight to? My flesh or His spirit? He will give us everything we need to survive and do good things for His kingdom. Even though he may not have the physical qualities we often desire, let us not forget or underestimate the power of His invisible qualities!
“Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in ALL our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
He will not leave us stranded, but WILL comfort us in ways that we may not expect. Are you willing to put your faith on it? The Lord says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”( Jeremiah 29:13)
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6) I believe that in time as we continually walk in Him and build His kingdom in our hearts they begin to take the shape he intended. That need to see and feel Him physically, grows smaller and smaller, and the sight of Him working in our communities, saving lives, and providing miracles fills us deeper and deeper.
One more additional thought for you. “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us, and His love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:12) So smile today, hug someone, let His light come shining through you. Maybe, just maybe, someone will get a glimpse of Him.