they have turned aside quickly out of The Way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'”
Exodus 32:8 RSV
For some time now I have sharing light little devotions on The Way. It started with Genesis 3:24
YHVH drove out Adam; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard The Way to the tree of life.
It was sin that began the journey, it is sin that will take us off course. YHVH (the LORD) is very specific about righteousness and what sin is. Aaron knew, “There will be no other gods in my face (before me)”. He was their priest, yet he made an Egyptian image for the people to worship.
When I was a young believer, we would justify christmas and easter. We knew they were pagan holidays but believed that they had been taken over for Christ. I had no explination for halloween not being taken for Christ. It seemed that halloween was one taken for the devil. I would foolishly argue that we should take it for Christ as well.
No where in Scripture are we commanded to take pagan holidays for the glory of the Almighty. Find me one place. In all my years of study I have never once seen that concept anywhere except inside the church. Aaron was no different then we are. He “Christianized” the image of the idols he was familiar with in Egypt. I’m sure that in Egypt the Sons of Israel had fond family traditions and memories centered on pagan practices. But those religious practices were not The Way of YHVH who rescued them from slavery to freedom.
I ALWAYS hear people tell me, “God knows my heart,” He knows that I love him, he knows that it is the baby Jesus that I am worshipping when I set up a christmas tree and buy gifts for my friends and family. I always wonder, do you know God’s heart? If you did I believe you would abandon your pagan “christ child” and easter celebrations in the blink of an eye and learn to keep the appointments (feasts) of YHVH. They are no different to the Almighty then the Golden Calf worship of Israel.
Now these things are warnings for us, not to desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to dance.” We must not indulge in immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 1 Corinthians 10:6-8
Paul is speaking of today’s Way Point.
Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? 1 Corinthians 10: 14-22
Paul goes on to say that demons have no power over us. What ever we do, we should do with thanksgiving to Messiah, but for the world, the souls that we are living The Way before, whom we share the Word of God with, we should be careful to decline anything that is offered in a pagan way, such as food.
Joshua is famous for saying,
“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:14-15
Put away your Santa Clause and your Easter basket. He has shown you what is good and what he wants from you (Micah 6:8) Our passage today was Exodus chapter 32. You read of Israel who turned aside from The Way to worship the calf. They looked back to what had made them happy in the past, even though it was part of their slavery. The Almighty asks us to Walk in The Way that he has in Scripture. Choose.
Just for fun… if you made it this far in the post, here is a video from Jim and Penny Cadwell that includes what is left of the original alter to the Golden Calf. (an oldie, but hang in there, it is a goodie!) Pop some corn and enjoy the movie.