Idolatry is a dangerous sin. Any time a person tries to substitute the real God with
something else, they are in danger of encountering the wrath of God. God loves His people very much, but He is also a jealous God who will not tolerate our placing anything in front of Him. We have been created to worship and serve God alone, and when we allow anything to take His place, God is not happy.
The Hebrews heard the voice of God through His servant Moses. But now Moses had been gone for a number of days, and they wanted to have their own way to god. So they had Aaron build an idol of a golden calf. They could look at the calf and say, “Here is our god!” It gave them something visible and tangible to look at so they could “worship”. Why did these people make this calf? Why do we put things in front of God and create our own gods? Here are a few reasons we have idols and God hates idols.
*It makes God tangible – We like to be able to feel, touch, see… But a God who fits into our senses is no God at all. In fact, idolatry puts God in a box. Our God is omnipresent, He is everywhere.
*It makes God understandable – Idolatry reduces God to a state where we can understand Him. God has revealed Himself in His Word, but we will never totally “get” God. He is bigger than our understanding, and bigger than our capability to learn.
*It makes God accountable to me – If I made my God, then I can destroy Him. On the other hand, if God created me, I have to answer to Him.
*It makes God controllable – I can take a golden calf and make it do what I want. If TV is my idol, then the remote control is the guide. If money is my idol, I use money to get what I want. God will not be controlled. He is God and He is in control.
*It makes God serve me – People do not want to serve the real God wholeheartedly because they realize that they must surrender their will and desires to Him. They want a God who will affirm their lifestyle, behavior, and attitudes. Idols are great for this. A golden calf will never tell me how to live.
You don’t have to create a statue to have idols. John Calvin said that the heart is an idol factory. We are adept at making just about everything an idol. Idolatry demonstrates that we have a basic misunderstanding of ourselves and God. The Hebrews somehow thought that God was there for them. He was there to deliver them and to take care of them. This is backwards. They were there for God. God had taken them from Egypt and was leading them to the promised land for His purposes. What idols do you have? What is your golden calf? What have you placed in front of God?