A Desire for Him

Under the Unpredictable Plant
Eugene Peterson

[3] So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. [4] And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” [5] When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” [6] And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

– Exodus 32:3-6

Self is sovereign.  The catechetical instruction we grow up with has most of the questions couched in the first person: “How can I make it?  How can I maximize my potential?  How can I develop my gifts?  How can I overcome my handicaps?  How can I cut my losses?  How can I increase my longevity and live happily ever after, preferably all the way into eternity?”  Most of the answers to these questions include the suggestion that a little religion along the way wouldn’t be a bad idea.

There are a thousand ways of being religious without submitting to Christ’s lordship, and people are practiced in most of them.  We live in golden calf country.  Religious feeling runs high but in ways far removed from what was said on Sinai and done on Calvary.  While everyone has a hunger for God, deep and insatiable, none of us has any great desire for him.  What we really want is to be our own gods and to have whatever other gods that are around to help us in this work.

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