More on the golden calf and God’s grace

1cor1004Who or what you worship leaves its mark on you. Isaiah 6; 32:17-18 and 44:9 and 17-18, make the point, not only that idol worship is foolish, but that idolaters come to resemble what they worship. To worship an unseeing, unspeaking image is the work of someone who is spiritually blind and mute. Hosea 4:16-17, prophesying against the stubborn idolatry of Israel (which had calves set up at Dan and Bethel for worship), compares Israel to a stubborn heifer. Moses does not say so explicitly, but, as, not only the leader of Israel here, but also the writer who recorded this incident, he seems to pick language that makes a similar point. The people were “running wild” and “out of control.,” (Exodus 32:25). They turned away, making an idol in the sampe of a calf, and were “stiff-necked” (Exodus 32:8-9).

“How is Israel’s sin portrayed in Exodus 32? The description can be seen as using cattle metaphors. Sinful Israel seems to be depicted metaphorically as rebellious cows running wild and needing to be regathered.” (G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, p. 367). Pursue an idol today, and you and your life run a real danger of being characterized by that idol.

1 Corinthians 13 is a call to remember and to change how you live your life.


From the Reflection on Sunday morning’s message at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC.

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