Exodus 32:3-4 “So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 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!”
Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
Do you know where your help comes from? It’s a question for which the Bible gives a clear answer, but it’s an answer for which many people are totally unaware. That ignorance is a symptom of spiritual blindness for the unbeliever and spiritual shortsightedness for those who say they believe. An example of this is found in the verses from Exodus 32 above.
The act of creating a golden calf, bowing down to it, and claiming that it was what had delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt is shocking for it represents an incredible case of spiritual amnesia. In the relatively brief period leading up to the creation of the golden calf, the nation of Israel had witnessed 10 miraculous plagues sent from the hand of God against their captors. This included the Passover, where at the direct command of God, each Israelite family had slain a lamb, spread its blood on the posts and lintel of the door, and by this act were spared the death of their firstborn sons, something from which the Egyptians had not been spared, including Pharaoh. Then there was the miraculous passage through the Red Sea, guidance by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, the provision of manna from heaven and water from a rock, and finally the appearance of the glory of God on Mount Sinai. It was at Sinai, as Moses tarried before God to receive God’s Law, that the Israelites became impatient and made a god of their own. It was this man-made image that they worshiped, the work of their own hands.
How incredibly stupid was this! How foolish to substitute a dead creation of man for the Living God. But don’t we do the same, in a sense, today? How many times have we received help over the course of our lives? How often have we been faced with a situation in which we didn’t know where to turn, when at just the right moment, someone came alongside us to help? Conversely, perhaps you are a person who never seemed to need much of anything. You’ve never known want. You were raised in a wealthy family, you’ve had a good-paying job, you’ve had good health, and you’ve had pretty much all you’ve ever needed whenever you needed it. In either case, what have you seen as the source of your provision? Was it another person, your own ability, your good job, “fate,” “good luck,” or something else?
Well, the verse above from Psalm 121 tells us that if the view that we’ve had regarding the supply of our needs has stopped anywhere short of God, we’ve stopped short of the truth and misidentified the source. You see, God is always the source of our help. Of course, He may have provided that help through many and varied ways. But whatever those “ways” were, including other people, they were all things that He created. It is God alone that made heaven, earth, and everything else, and He alone supplies every need we’ve ever had for anything.
As we are told in 1 Corinthians 4:7 “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” And then there’s this from Deuteronomy 8, specifically said to Israel but obviously applicable to the rest of us as well: “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down,and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. He led you through the vast and dreadful wilderness, that thirsty and waterless land, with its venomous snakes and scorpions. He brought you water out of hard rock. He gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never known, to humble and test you so that in the end it might go well with you. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”
You see, in worshiping a golden calf, Israel was worshiping the work of their own hands. They, in essence, were giving themselves glory for the things God had done. How foolish this was, and how wicked, as they robbed God of the honor due His name. May God help us to recognize that “our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth,” for that’s always the truth when help comes, no matter if we recognize it or not.