In a modern developed country, it is supposedly hard to find an idol, if you were to look for a statue of metal or stone.  But, a study of Exodus in the account of the famed golden calf reveals that while the golden calf cannot be found, the principle of idolatry abounds, though in a more subtler form.

Reading this chapter carefully, it should be noted that the golden calf was made of gold.  To trace the source of the gold back, we would see that this gold was given to the children of Israel by the Egyptians, which gold the Israelites made into earrings, which were later given to Aaron for the making of the golden calf.  In contrast, this gold was originally intended to be set aside for the construction of the tabernacle, something according to God's desire.  But, this gold was wasted on the making of the golden calf, and rendered useless.  

Before being used to make the golden calf, the gold was used as earrings.  This small detail is full of significance, as it shows us that the source of idolatry is self-beautification.  When we are occupied with beautifying ourselves, we spontaneously have no heart for God.  Consider your experience.  

Now, it becomes evident how prevalent idolatry is, even in the most Christian of Christian nations.  Everywhere, there is hardly any mention or even consciousness of God.  On the other hand, there is an abundance in conversations about clothing, fashion, styles, cars, and all manners of other things made with the intention of self-beautification.

What we observe from this is the principle of idolatry: that there is something which occupies our heart, something other than God.  There is something we love and hang on to, replacing or usurping our love of God and our seeking after God.

As an aside, all this, I read after buying a jacket from the mall.  Though the original intention was to get something proper, to be a proper testimony of the Lord, I cannot say how much the Lord was with me in my shopping.  I cannot say, with a clear conscience, that I had no thought of self-beautification. 

But, I think, it is good to know the truth, whether good or bad.  Better to know the reality than to be illusioned, only to be disillusioned when it is too late, when our time is up.
Written on September 1, 2010
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