the gods that go before us

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 Lamp Psalms 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 nations Revelations 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 us Matthew 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 beast Revelations 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 landExodus 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.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that per­tain to life and god­li­ness, through the knowl­edge of him who called us to his own glory and excel­lence”
- 2 Peter 1:3

Wanna reach out and ask me some ques­tions? Or do you want clar­i­fi­ca­tion on some­thing writ­ten here? If so, write me a let­ter. I’d love to hear from you and I’ll respond. I bet your hon­est ques­tion will pro­duce insights that will ben­e­fit other read­ers.