“All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit.”
– Isaiah 44:9
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” - Exodus 20:3-6
They finally found the freedom they had prayed for. Miracle upon miracle happened, and as they looked back and watched the soldiers wash away in the sea, they could breathe for the first time. Now the Israelites could finally start the journey to the Promised Land. Surely, very little time separated them from everything God had promised them.
" I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey." - Exodus 3:7-8b
All they had to do was run this final race and persevere with all focus on God's faithfulness. But the distance was long. The days turned into weeks and the weeks to months. Still no sign of what God had promised them. The sun of the desert scorched their bodies. Food was scarce, enemies attacked and hope seemed all but lost. Grumbling grew amongst the people. Time and time again, as things seemed all but lost, provision was given. But that wasn’t enough. They wanted to see the end, and God's miracles were lost in their short-sidedness. Maybe God was a farce after all and His redemption wasn’t waiting for them. Perhaps, they thought, it was time to look for hope in something else. Their impatience took hold of their logic, and they fashioned idols from gold they gathered while Moses left them again to go talk to this so-called "God."
What happened next was heartbreaking. Three thousand lives were taken as a penalty for this act and then a plague fell upon the people. Decades of wandering in the desert passed before the people would finally see the land God had for them. They lost sight of the promise, quit the race and focused instead on their wants and desires in the here and now. They took matters into their own hands, and those hands left them wandering in the desert for 40 years.
How many times have we turned to idols to get the happiness we think we deserve now? We think money will buy the house we deserve or the clothes we crave. Perhaps that piece of pie will make me feel better. Some of us may think that if we just earn the love of our loved ones, we will feel significant and complete. Flirting with the guy at the gym might make us feel like we exist when our spouses don’t seem interested in us anymore. Having another child might finally make me feel important. If I reach this goal or get that promotion, I will finally feel like somebody.
The problem with all of these things is that if we continue to rely on them to provide us with our needs, they will ALL eventually let us down. Why? Because there is only ONE who can sustain us, make us feel loved fully, and bring us contentment – God. Idols may bring us temporary fulfillment, but they cannot carry us for the long term. When we make something an idol, we are sinning. Sin always has consequences. More than likely, those consequences will spill over to those we love and can be the death of so much good. Marriages crumble. Families fall apart. Feelings of worthlessness overwhelm us. Suddenly, that short term happiness has long term effects that can destroy us.
The good news is that you have a chance to put an end to this. Place your hope in the Lord, our source of goodness, love and hope. He will never forsake us or lead us in the wrong direction. He will lead us to the waters we panteth for. He will nourish us and fill us with everything we need.
“The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” – Psalm 147:11
So, my friends, I encourage you to put down the idols you are holding onto tightly and run to the Lord. Run faster than you have ever run before. He is standing there, waiting to wrap his arms around you. You just need to let go and run.
Written by Ginny.
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