Thursday, March 5, 2015

Keeping Focus

Scripture Texts: Exodus 32; Psalm 106:19-23; Acts 7:37-43

The capacity of the Israelites to wander from God is staggering. Throughout the book of Exodus we find a vicious cycle of faithfulness, brokenness, and restoration by the people. Even more staggering is the rate at which the change can happen. The people seem to be able to go from faithful to broken in mere moments.

In this chapter of Exodus the people are gathered at the base of the mountain while Moses is at the top of mountain meeting with God. They are gathered there because that is what God called them to do. It was an act of faithfulness. However, it quickly turns when Moses is taking longer than they expected on the top of the mountain. With great pace the people move from a faithful gathering to asking for false gods for them to worship. This is not the end of the fall from faithfulness. By the end of the golden calf incident, the people go as far to give credit to the human made god for bringing them out of Egypt.

This April we will celebrate 16 years of marriage. During that time we have had many adventures, challenges and victories along the way. There is a temptation to give credit for the victories to ourselves more than to God. We could look back at the challenges overcome and declare that it was something we did that brought us out of the trouble.

The reality is that God is the one who leads us through life. Sure we must do our part but our part is always the role of follower of Jesus first. Even when things seem to take longer than we think they should. When following God seems to take longer than we want just like the Israelites we tend to create other gods to worship.

We have never taken our gold, melted it down and had a calf emerge. There have been times when we have begun the work of creating our own god because the way that God was working in our lives was not to our liking. Key to overcoming the god creating process is to remain connected to the true God. When Moses was on the mountain the people only thought about themselves and their situation, not about the God whom they served and who rescued them from Egypt.

By the way, this is the same process that happens when things in a marriage are not working out quite the way we thought they would. Rather than stay focused on the health and wholeness of our relationship, we begin to focus on ourselves. When we focus too much on ourselves and not enough on our spouse, we begin the god creating process. Keeping our focus on our spouse and on our God is the best preventative to creating our own god.

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