Sunday, June 27, 2010

Golden Gods

I read an artical in the news paper the other day about how the price of gold had went up and more people were hoarding gold as an hedge aginst inflation. It got me to thinking about the Israelites and the way they let gold become there master.

God had seized the attention of Pharaoh and the Egyptians with a series of plagues. Now they were dying to be rid of their Hebrew slaves. But God didn't want the Israelites to leave Egypt empty handed. After all, they had 400 years of wages due them. So they asked their former masters for articles of silver, gold, and clothing, and they got them. Exodus 12:36 says that the Israelites "plundered the Egyptians."

It wasn't long, however, until God's people fell into idolatry. They used their gold to make a golden calf, which they worshiped while Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the law (32:1-4).

This tragic experience highlights the tension that Christians are required to maintain in relation to their possessions. There is much in our society that we may enjoy. But material things can also pose grave dangers when we use them uncritically. Guinness says that we are "free to utilize" but "forbidden to idolize." We are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Heb. 11:13), and we must not become so enamored with "the riches of Egypt" that we grow complacent and forget our true calling.

Are we using our material blessings to serve the Lord or have we become slaves to them? Gold can be a helpful servant but a cruel master.

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