Although God has promised to take care of our every need, all too often we turn away from Him in search of someone or something to take His place. We then find ourselves growing farther away from God and His will for our lives, and may even find ourselves making idols of people or objects in our lives, shunning our Heavenly Father for earthly desires.
The story of the Israelites leaving Egypt is found beginning in Exodus chapter 12. They were led out of Egypt and saved from Pharaoh and his army by the parting of the Red Sea. When they left Egypt, the Bible tells us, in Exodus 13: 21-22, “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” However, they soon forgot the God who gave them their freedom.
The Israelites complained, beginning, as we learn in Exodus 15:22-24, a mere three days after God had parted the Red Sea and brought them through on dry ground. And again, about 45 days after leaving Egypt, they accused God, through Moses and Aaron, of bringing them into the wilderness to die, because they were hungry. God then promised and provided bread from Heaven, which they called manna. God provided for all their needs, including bringing water out of a rock when they complained that they would die of thirst in the wilderness (Exodus 17:1-6).
As they traveled toward the promised land, God continued to provide for them, and spoke with Moses about what He expected from the children of Israel. In Exodus 20:2-4, God speaks: “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” And in verses 22-23 we read, “And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from Heaven. Ye shall not make with Me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.”’
During their journey through the wilderness, Moses spent forty days and forty nights upon Mount Sinai, communing with God and learning God’s commandments for the children of Israel. However, in Exodus 32:7-8, we read, “And the LORD said unto Moses, ‘Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, ‘These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.’”
When we read about how quickly they turned from God in the wilderness, many of us are shocked, and tell ourselves that we would never – could never – turn away from God so quickly. But just because we are not fashioning golden calves does not mean we are not putting other things before God.
People in today’s society still look for something they can see or sense in some way to replace God in their lives. Instead of living by faith, they search for a substitute to fill the void in their lives as they put God aside. We all know that putting the love of money before God is wrong, because, as we read in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (money, wealth, material possessions).” Yet how many people realize that many other things can become objects of worship in place of God?
I personally know a man who stated flatly that money is his god. Then there are those who put their careers, homes, prized possessions, or relationships before God. Perhaps there is a desire for fame or for physical beauty that comes first in the lives of some. Not all these things are in and of themselves bad or evil. We should work hard at our jobs, doing everything as if for the Lord, as we are told in Colossians 3:23. And most everyone loves their family members and desires close relationships with them. But when any of these things – or people – come before our relationship with God, they become our idols, pushing God to a secondary, or even farther away place, in our lives.
We all have cares of this world that we must attend to. We work to pay our bills and provide for loved ones. We study to earn diplomas or degrees so that we can work smarter instead of harder. We spend time with those we love and participate in various activities as a way to relax or enjoy our free time. But Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:25, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” Never let the activities or possessions of this life so consume you that God is pushed into a dark corner where dust gathers. When you put God first, everything else will fall into place. And remember, as we read in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Put God first – always – and watch Him move mightily in your life.
Grace and blessings on your path,
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