The Wrong God

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Exodus 32:1-14

The people . . . said to [Aaron], “Up, make us gods who shall go before us.” (v. 1)

I have a friend who disclosed, shortly before her divorce, that her husband had had multiple affairs over the years of their marriage. The most heartbreaking detail of her story was that his infidelity began mere months after their wedding.

The Lord describes his relationship with Israel as a marriage. He identifies idolatry not as religious misconduct, but as marital infidelity. On Mount Sinai, Moses receives the marriage contract of God’s covenant Law. At the same time, the Israelites are engaged in the adultery of idolatry. Their justification is that the Lord has taken too long to deliver the blessings promised in his covenant. Instead of waiting, Israel settles for the wrong god.

We don’t worship golden statues, but our hearts do chase after idols—substitute sources of significance and security. We’re most enticed when God fails to deliver the desires of our hearts: prosperity and property, health and healing, romance or children. When God takes too long, we’re quick to move on. Invariably we too settle for the wrong gods. God responds to the infidelity of Israel with jealous anger, but he doesn’t remain angry forever. He bears the brunt of his own wrath and offers reconciliation at the cross of Jesus Christ. When you’re tempted by the wrong gods, remember the one who gave up his life that you might live. And wait for the one who is patient with you. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, recommit yourself to God.