Friday, September 11, 2009

The Golden Calf

So the Israelites wanted a golden calf. They wanted what all the other people had ~ something tangible to worship. And yet they had the "pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night" ~ the presence of God being manifested so they could know He was with them. But it wasn't enough. Because he wasn't doing it their way. And He wasn't giving them the things that other people with other religions had.

Sound familiar? God, give me something tangible here. I need money in my bank account. I need my debt paid off. I need a better house, a better car, a better job. I need better friends, a better church, a better program. I need a better spouse, more recognition, more validation. I need health. I need . . . a golden calf. Something I can touch. Something that will glisten in the sun.

We want Him to come down to our level and manifest Himself in our carnal world in the flesh. Guess what, He already did. He came to our level and manifested Himself in the body of a man. He performed miracles. He fed thousands. And He died alone.

Why? Because He didn't do things our way ~ and He still doesn't. And we don't like it. We never have.

Now He invites US ~ the same way He invited the Israelites of old to come up the mountain and behold Him ~ He invites us, "Come up here, my beloved." He invites us to rise above our circumstances and our pain and our delusions ~ to see with His eyes. To hear with His ears. To live a life that transcends our carnal reality and enables us to fly.

Let's stop asking Father to do things our way.
Let's say yes to the invitation and let Him do the rest.
It might hurt ~ it will hurt ~ but, oh! It will be worth it.



  1. What we find out when we do it His way is that His way is much better than our way!

  2. Yes . . . imagine that.

    And yet we are so afraid to trust Him. Perhaps because we do not truly believe His heart is good.


  3. True ... we see Him as that old man that will always be late, or the punisher or the God who turns His back.

    What if we opened ourselves to Him? What would we find?

    We will find glory on the other side!

  4. Great so people get wiped out because of getting drunk and dancing round a golden calf. Try it it now and nothing happens. I don't like Christians but love jesus. Whores go to heaven before the good, he accepts everyone even if they dance around a golden cow!

  5. Dear Anonymous,
    You are right, He most certainly does accept everyone, and loves us intensely. Even those pesky Christians ;) ~ so much so that it upsets Him when we choose a path that leads to suffering and darkness, despite His invitation to freedom.
    We have been trained to view God as the Punisher. This is how many institutions keep their constituents in check. And so we view scripture through that paradigm. A good friend of mine has been challenging me on this for the past several years, and I have been amazed at how differently things can look when that looking glass is taken away.
    So . . . what if this story isn't just about drunk people dancing around the golden calf? What if it is about a fierce love story? (Hear me out, now, don't get your dander up.) What if God's anger is that of a lover who has been betrayed? Have you ever had a friend or loved one whose spouse was unfaithful? The resulting emotions are catastrophic, and I assure you rage is one of them.
    Perhaps God demonstrates that He is not a complacent God, but that He is intimately connected to us and affected by our choices. Would you feel more loved by someone who was angered at your betrayal of them or someone who was passive about it?
    Perhaps, when He sees His people dancing around the golden calf, He not only sees their present condition but also the path that they have chosen and the darkness that will follow. His fury ignites not only as a response to the betrayal, but also at the destruction that lies ahead. He has limited Himself in that He will not take away our freedom of choice. But that limitation has cost all of us, including Him.
    He is a God who will rescue us from our poor choices at any cost.
    Do you notice, in the story, how He distances Himself from the people, in an effort to save them from his anger? He doesn't *want* to hurt them, in fact, His passion is precisely the opposite of that. He wants to PROTECT them. Even from themselves. Particularly from themselves.
    Is it possible that perhaps it is His mercy that will extinguish a temporal life, which is heading down a path of anguish and horror? In this story, He asks anyone who still wants to serve Him to step aside. Is it possible, in a story like this, that He would take a deep breath and say, "Okay, if any of you still want to journey with Me on this earth, and share in my love and protection, come this way. For the rest of you, wanting to follow your own independent path, I can tell you, it will lead to darkness, suffering, and something you humans have all referred to as 'hell'. My heart is torn. I desire for every single one of you to come to Me. But if you will not, if you insist on choosing the dark path, I would rather end your journey here and now than allow you more suffering."
    You remember that scene in so many movies, don't you? Robert De Niro as Neil in "Heat" leans over the battered body of his friend, Trejo, who has lost his wife and can't feel his legs and begs him, "Don't leave me like this, Neil."
    I think sometimes Papa leans over the battered body of His friends too, and says, "Enough."
    As you said, we don't have golden calves nowadays. We've replaced them with the more socially acceptable versions. And perhaps we don't always see the bloodied Trejos that He sees when we read the story of the Israelites. But I'm pretty sure that's what He sees.