From the desk of Steve Patton
Making God In Our Image
“Up, make us gods who shall go before us.” - Exodus 32:1
Pagans constantly surrounded the Israelites. It was easy to observe the pagans’ licentious worship. The carnal nature of such practices would appeal to anyone’s lustful desires. And if they worshipped their gods in such immoral ways, it is not hard to imagine the immoral character of their daily lives.
When the Israelites left Egypt it is clear many of them practiced idolatry. The first two of the Ten Commandments are about false gods and their images. Even when they are about to enter the promised land, Joshua told them, “Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:14). They desired to worship and live like their pagan neighbors. So, in the absence of Moses at Sinai, they made an idol, worshipped it, and “sat down to eat and rose up to play” (Exo. 32:6).
Some scholars suggest they did not cease Yahweh worship. Rather they made a representation of Him they could see and then began to worship Him as they had worshipped idols in Egypt. If so, that sounds a lot like what we often do today.
How often do we remake Yahweh into a God that suits us? We may not turn to immorality but we begin to rationalize ways for God to approve what we want to do. We justify keeping the money when the cashier give us too much change. We justify dressing immodestly by saying it’s not as bad as the world dresses. We justify little lies in business. We become servants of mammon and no longer faithfully serve the God who saved us. After all, we don’t murder, rob, do drugs, get drunk, or practice immorality. Our God will still accept us.
We can’t remake God into our image. We are made in His. Do not let an ungodly world influence you to rationalize sin in your life. Hear Joshua when he said, “…Choose this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”