articlesqa October 27, 2016 the gods that go before us
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of

This ar­ti­cle is the re­sult of many tears and many years in the desert us­ing my wealth and glo­ry to form gods of wood that can­not speak when in­stead I should have and could have been silent Hab­bakuk 2:19-20. Have you come to no­tice the same thing your life? When I first read Ex­o­dus 32:1-3, I thought to my­self, “How im­pa­tient those Is­raelites are? Don’t they know Moses is com­ing back down?” I would nev­er get so im­pa­tient and so afraid and make oth­er gods to wor­ship and oth­er lights to guide me Leviti­cus 10:1-2. Right? Would you? Have you ever found your­self fol­low­ing gods of your own mak­ing? Was it your hus­band, your wife, your kids, your job, your ed­u­ca­tion, your pow­er, your mon­ey? And where did they lead you? And if they are still lead­ing you now are you sat­is­fied? Do you know they are lead­ing you to death?

I wrote last year about how we, like Ha­gar, find our­selves in the desert by fol­low­ing a string of un­re­li­able springs. That milder form of idol­a­try can hap­pen al­most through pas­siv­i­ty and wan­der­ing. Most peo­ple in those cir­cum­stances are al­ready bruised and bat­tered. Love de­mands that their sin be re­vealed only through the sooth­ing of the wounds and the cov­er­ing of their naked­ness. To­day we talk about a more ac­tive form of idol­a­try aris­ing also from the pits of pride, fear and de­spair. In this case, love re­quires that these peo­ple must see their naked­ness be­fore they can be clothed.

Give us gods to go be­fore us cause I don’t know when this God is show­ing up and I got places to be and goals to ac­com­plish. This was the cry of Adam and Eve as they ate the fruit, the cry of Cain who killed his broth­er, the cry of Is­rael who want­ed a king and the cry of Saul who of­fered a sac­ri­fice. This is the cry of lost church­es (Can they even be called church­es?) who say, "Just be your­self be­cause we can­not wait for you to find your self through obe­di­ence to the Word." In their ea­ger­ness for free­dom, they hid the law that brings free­dom and deny that Je­sus is God James 1:25, Matthew 25:25, Jude 1:4, 1 John 4:2-3. This is the cry of lost church­es who pro­claim, "Don’t be like those lib­er­als. You must be cir­cum­cised! Adopt this cul­ture, wear these clothes, sing these songs, talk this way and walk this way and you shall be holy." In their fear of free­dom, they hid the Grace of God, the Per­fect Law of Lib­er­ty Matthew 25:25, James 1:25, Luke 11:46, Matthew 23:4.

I can’t wait for God. Yet the night is dark and un­cer­tain­ty fills me with fear. Pas­tor, pas­tor. Here is my gold. Here are my itch­ing ears. Now make me gods to go be­fore me. Fake the boom of His Thun­der. Give me free­dom and give me rules. Help me make from dark­ness a mas­quer­ade of light 2 Corinthi­ans 11:14.

God’s plans

Now, as al­ways, no one con­sults God. I of­ten fail to ask Him what He wants or what He plans. The tragedy of all this is that God knows the de­sires of our hearts. In every sin­gle case where we’ve gone ahead of God, He had a plan to give us that very thing we were long­ing for. In every sin­gle case. Oh when I look back at my life, at all the things that could have been, I be­gin to weep. How life could have gone if only I had wait­ed a lit­tle longer, if only I had tak­en up the LampPsalms 119:105 in­stead of chas­ing fig­ments in the dark­ness.

This was the case with hu­man­i­ty at Ba­bel. Gen­e­sis 11:1-4 re­veals a peo­ple who are bent on cre­at­ing a na­tion with­out in­volv­ing God. God un­does this man-built na­tion in Gen­e­sis 11:5-9 yet He ac­knowl­edges the de­sire. This de­sire to build cities and na­tions is not a bad one for in Rev­e­la­tions 21:1-2, we find the City of God com­ing down from heav­en. But like all hu­man de­sires, it is a skewed one that will lead us to build to the wicked city of Baby­lon Rev­e­la­tions 17:18, 18:1-6. So that Baby­lon might not come so soon, God frag­ments our lan­guage.

Yet if Gen­e­sis 11 is about the de­struc­tion of a na­tion, we find God in Gen­e­sis 12 lay­ing the foun­da­tions of a Holy Na­tion. So much can be learned in this con­trast but let us say only this: God af­firms the hu­man de­sire to build na­tions through His Promise to Abram in Gen­e­sis 12:1-2. The de­sire for com­mu­ni­ty, for cities and na­tions build­ing lies in the heart of every per­son (even Abram) and God knows it is there be­cause He has placed it there. But He wants to help us build Zion NOT Baby­lon. Ac­cord­ing to Rev­e­la­tions a day is com­ing when we will for­get (if we ever re­mem­bered) that fall­en peo­ple, though unit­ed in lan­guage and mind, can nev­er build healthy na­tionsRev­e­la­tions 17:13, 16-18. The Holy City can only be built by re­deemed men and women who are unit­ed be­cause God is their Fa­ther and the Word is their tongue.

This is the pat­tern with every de­sire of our heart. God cre­at­ed our de­sires and nev­er ig­nores them or makes light of them. We are like chil­dren reach­ing for food ex­cept we do not know that some “foods” are poi­son. He is the Fa­ther who is scram­bling to help us ob­tain our de­sires in a way that will not de­stroy us. He does this re­peat­ed­ly in the Bible. 1Af­ter build­ing the calf with ear rings of gold in Ex­o­dus 32:1-5, God tells them to use the same gold ear rings to build the taber­na­cle in Ex­o­dus 35:4-10. 2God pun­ish­es Is­rael with Saul when they asked for a king in 1 Samuel 8:4-9. This have kings with­out hav­ing God even­tu­al­ly led them into ex­ile. But again, God af­firms our de­sire for a king by giv­ing us Him­self as King in Je­sus Christ, the King of kings 1 Tim­o­thy 6:14-16. 3But Pe­ter, like the dev­il and the rest of usMatthew 4:8-9, is in a hur­ry and he tried to force Je­sus to ac­cept the crown of men Matthew 16:21-22. But Je­sus re­bukes the dev­il and Pe­ter Matthew 4:10, 16:23 and us be­cause He knew that the crowns of men are shack­les but the King of kings wears the yoke of God. And so again we come to the point. ANY de­vi­a­tion from pur­su­ing our de­sires through a re­la­tion­ship with God will al­ways lead us into ruin. God is ea­ger to give us our de­sires ... if only we would be­gin to de­stroy these gods we cre­at­ed to go be­fore us.

like peo­ple, like priests

But no mat­ter how in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic peo­ple be­come, they are al­ways in need of a priest. Peo­ple wor­ship best when there is af­fir­ma­tion and per­mis­sion to wor­ship and such af­fir­ma­tion is giv­en by the priest. Who then are the priests? The false priest is the per­son that uses your con­fused words to write for you a sto­ry. The false prophet takes your de­sires and your gold and fash­ions for you an idol. The true priest teach­es you how to give to God your de­sires and your gold. The true prophet teach­es you how to write God’s sto­ry with your words. Idols of­ten be­gin as weak amor­phous things but through in­ter­pre­ta­tion and vi­sion, Aaron, the priest, sculpts for the peo­ple gold­en calf. So fun­da­men­tal is this dy­nam­ic that even at the end of every­thing, we find again the peo­ple and the priest, the peo­ple and the false prophet of the beastRev­e­la­tions 19:20. Moses, on the oth­er hand, finds those who are weak in faith and nur­tures them till they can be­hold the Glo­ry of God.

It should not be sur­pris­ing that you can find priests every­where pro­claim­ing and ex­tolling the su­prema­cy of the var­i­ous gods of our day: mon­ey, fam­i­ly, con­sumerism, sex­u­al­i­ty and so on. Most of them are sci­en­tists, ac­tors, re­porters and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. These are the peo­ple you see on tele­vi­sion ac­tive­ly weav­ing our lives into a great sto­ry, telling us where we come from, where we are go­ing and which gods we should wor­ship to to get us there. Like Aaron, they lie and say, "This sci­ence, this sex, this pa­tri­o­tism, this -ism... these are are the gods that brought you out of Egypt and these gods will bring you into the promised land" Ex­o­dus 32:4,1 In day to day life, the priest can be the fa­ther who re­ceives the fears of his chil­dren and builds them fences us­ing mon­ey. In this way, the chil­dren learn that the fear of mon­ey con­quers all oth­er fears. And be­cause they fear mon­ey, they then pur­sue an ed­u­ca­tion that fears mon­ey, jobs that fear mon­ey and wives and church­es that fear mon­ey. May God grant them grace, long be­fore their lives come to end, to see that the light they re­ceived from their fa­thers will only led them into deep­er into dark­ness.

But Chris­t­ian, you are a mem­ber of The Roy­al Priest­hood. While false priests spout lies, you must be truth. Your job is to teach men and women from every na­tion and tongue how to speak the Holy Tongue, the Word of God. You are to teach them how to write the sto­ry of God us­ing their lives, their words and every breath. You must teach that God CAN­NOT be fash­ioned from gold or sil­ver or words. In­stead, teach them to give to God their de­sires and their every­thing so that God may bring their de­sires to life Ex­o­dus 35:10,20-22, Psalms 37:4. You must not give them the sin or cir­cum­ci­sion they de­sire. In­stead, but you must teach them to walk while ob­serv­ing the Per­fect Law of Lib­er­ty. And above all, above all, nev­er ever fash­ion for them light from this present dark­ness. Teach them to wait for God. And wher­ev­er you find that they have made idols, tear them down Ex­o­dus 32:20, 2 Corinthi­ans 10:3-6. Of­fer them the only Light there will ever be even the Light seems to be lead­ing them into suf­fer­ing and death. Bet­ter is one day in His Courts where weep­ing en­dures for the night but joy comes in the morn­ing Psalms 84:10, 30:5. Bet­ter is the bro­ken­ness at the foot of the Cross than the mer­ry dance that leads to an eter­ni­ty of de­spair Ec­cle­si­astes 7:2-6, Matthew 27:50, Ex­o­dus 32:6.

In our last chap­ter, we dis­cussed how ide­olo­gies are emer­gent prop­er­ties of sin and sin­ful­ness. As for how sin en­tered into the world, not more can be said than, “Sin en­tered into the world by sin.” We know that be­cause of our sin, God Pun­ish­es us with evil by With­draw­ing His good­ness from us. And yet, in His Mer­cy, God Min­is­ters good­ness to all and Re­strains our mad­ness to keep us from be­ing con­sumed in evil . There­fore, chil­dren still laugh, the sun still shines and there is still fel­low­ship among peo­ple. This Grace by Which God Re­strains and Bless­es the world is known col­lec­tive­ly as Com­mon Grace. Wi...
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