A Golden Calf Moment
Have you ever done what you wanted, even though in the back of your mind you knew it was wrong? Don’t we all, on occasion, “justify” what we want, so that we can do it with a clear conscience? Well, maybe not totally clear, but we justify it, then choose not to think about it anymore.
I was reading this morning in Nehemiah chapter 9. In this chapter the Israelites are confessing their sins to God, blessing and honoring him. Lets look at verses 17-21.
Nehemiah 9:17-21 “But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them. EVEN when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, “This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt” and committed great blasphemies, you in your GREAT MERCIES DID NOT FORSAKE THEM in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way, did not depart from them by day nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. FORTY YEARS YOU SUSTAINED THEM in the wilderness (all while they worshiped a man made golden calf!!!) and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.”
As I read these scriptures I wept. I am overwhelmed at his love, his great mercy and grace toward us! Creating a golden calf from their own hands, and claiming IT lead them out of Egypt was like spitting in the face of God. The hurt he must have felt…the betrayal, the anger. Is that how I make him feel when I ignore his Word and his leading? When I justify my actions and take my life into my own hands and do things my way. Isn’t that just like making my own golden calf? My way, my rules….my golden calf moment. Verse 19 says “Yet in his great mercies, he did not forsake them.” My friend, that is LOVE.
In verses 26-28 it says that even though God didn’t forsake them in their sin, they continued to be rebellious. They finally turned their back on him completely and actually killed the prophets and people he sent to point the way back to him. They wanted nothing to do with him. So, he let them go. It was what they wanted. He knew what the enemy would do to them, but they wouldn’t listen. He let THEM go, but he didn’t go anywhere! He was right there waiting for them. Waiting to forgive, redeem and restore in his great mercy, grace and love.
Nehemiah. 9:28 “Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard them and delivered them according to your mercies.”
Nehemiah 9:31 “Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.
“Even when I run away, you will wait for me to come back home.”
I think we can all relate to this story in more than one way. As I mentioned earlier, I’m sure we have all had moments of turning our back on Gods way and instead doing things our own way. We also have probably been on the giving and receiving end of the golden calf moment with others in our life. Maybe you have been wronged or been the one who wronged someone. It might have been a spouse, a child, family member or friend. It may seem unforgivable. These verses show us how God handles these hard situations.
Nehemiah 9:17 “But you God are ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and did not forsake them.”
First, receive Gods forgiveness, his mercy and his grace. Then, as he has forgiven you, forgive yourself. Forgive others who have wronged you. Maybe there is someone you need to go confess to and ask for forgiveness.
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Whatever your golden calf moment, let us all rejoice in his steadfast love, wonderful grace and precious mercy towards us. He is faithful. Let’s try to walk in that same grace, mercy and love with the people in our own lives.