In Sunday’s Scripture narrative, the Israelites fear they are leaderless because Moses has been gone for 40 days. So, they revert to worshiping a golden calf! “What were they thinking!” Not so fast. They’re scared and want what is familiar. And therein lies a critical difference - - between serving idols and trusting God. We humans easily confuse the two, however, and it’s important to understand the difference. One is about control, the other about love.
Here are some huge differences between idol worship and worshiping God:
- God is the creator (and owner) of all that is - - life itself.
- Life therefore is not finally our own - - we are managers of that life and asked to live in a way that is pleasing to the Creator.
- The core of what pleases God has been revealed in Scripture, most richly through Jesus - - we best describe it in the word “love” or “compassion”. This, in its many forms and manifestations is what the worshiper of God is called to - - a very different “bottom line” from other gods.
- Yes, there is reward promised - - it comes imperfectly in this life through greater joy, blessing and meaning. But it is promised completely in the life after.
It’s fascinating to follow the logic of this and compare it with where worship (or first loyalty) leads with idols such as riches, power, fame, nation, recreation - - all good in themselves - - or, evil itself.