and I will be his God and he shall be My son

1 Corinthians 10 (part 8) WHAT GOLDEN CALF?


1 Corinthians Chapter 10
Our Journey

(part 8)

What Golden Calf?


Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. 7 And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” - 1Cor 10:6-7 NKJV

Finally getting back to our study in 1Corinthians here. After all that the Israelite’s had experienced and been given by the grace of God (vs 1-4), we find that God was “not well pleased with them.” (vs 5) Despite God’s deliverance, promise and provision; we see how many of His chosen people chose to walk.

Eating, drinking, playing. Sounds innocent enough doesn’t it? Nothing to incur the wrath of God at least. But let’s look at this account to which Paul refers -
“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.

Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”

So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord.” Then they rose early on the next day, offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” - Exodus 32:1-6 NKJV

What idols have we erected in the churches because we have grown impatient waiting for our Lord to return? I believe we have indeed, perhaps in ignorance, built several “golden calves.” In our restlessness, we’ve fashioned programs and molded doctrines that, though they seem so wonderful in our sight, are odious to God. We declare, ‘these are what will bring you out of bondage, to your addiction; your depression; your guilt…’, while neglecting the root of these symptoms – our sinful self-will.

Our modern dogmas assure the church-goer peace, prosperity & security… while the Lord is seated on the Throne, “waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool” by the saints who are to be “presenting themselves a living sacrifice” and “striving against sin even unto the death.”

We’ve neglected His charge to the Church to be perfected by walking in holiness, in favor of man-made traditions that stress we’ve already arrived and can just rest in God’s grace and forgiveness. This is a ‘golden calf’ we have constructed; the masses have accepted it; and the many have gone about to “eat, drink & play.”

The Amplified Bible renders the account in Exodus this way -

“So they got up early the next day and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; then the people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play [shamefully—without moral restraint].
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once, for your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.” – Ex 32:6-7 AMP

We’ve become comfortable, convinced that Jesus has done it all, and we’ve celebrated our “salvation” and proceeded to go about our lives “eating, drinking and playing” , rather than striving to walk “pleasing to God” while “waiting patiently for the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7). May we not “grow weary” in our waiting and let our focus shift to something other than our Lord and God’s charge upon our lives.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” – Gal 6:7-9 NKJV

Jesus said such teaching of a false security would cause the saints to get sloppy & lukewarm in their walk, and not be ready to meet Him when He comes again. Christ’s seeming delay in returning has resulted in many of those who had been set free in the churches becoming comfortable with the “cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and desires for other things” (Mark 4:11)

Waiting can be difficult, and especially for us living in the First World nations. We like to know what time things will happen, what date & time a specific event will occur. But with God, “patience” is often required; and for many, patience is a not a treasured virtue. The Israelites got impatient waiting for Moses to return. Are we who are waiting for the Lord’s return behaving differently?

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “
- Matt 24:36-39 NKJV

We’ve built a golden calf called ‘religion’ (man-made, as was the calf that Aaron molded) and for the most part gone about as happy as can be; eating, drinking, buying & selling; believing we’re okay and that no real or eternal harm will come upon us because we’ve claimed Jesus as Savior, He forgave us, and brought us out of bondage. But rather than “presenting yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and our members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom 6:13), we’ve proclaimed that ‘we will always fall short’ and the we are only ‘sinners saved by grace, apart from anything we can do.’ So instead of an emphasis on pressing into maturity - through repentance & a walk worthy of an inheritance in the Kingdom - we’ve gone about to proselytize everyone and get them to join our club.

This is exactly what the Apostle Paul was warning us against.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” – 1Cor 10:12 NKJV

Friends, I pray we realize that Paul is directly addressing the saints here in 1Cor 10 (as in all his letters); those who have been delivered from bondage to sin and have received of God’s grace and mercy.

Oh, you can find religious leaders, and I’ve heard them, who eloquently deliver messages of assurance to those sitting in the pews, regardless of whether or not they have “denied themselves, picked up their cross daily and are following Jesus.” They speak of the love and peace of Jesus as though He will love them no matter what they do, because He has done it all for them and wants them only to believe on Him and rest in His grace. This “love” is so greatly overemphasized in many “Christian” songs and sermons that the hearer is encouraged to believe that God could never, ever, possibly allow them to miss out on His Kingdom or any of His promises regardless of what they do; for He just loves them so much with some sort of ‘overflowing, extravagant, unending’ love that ‘washes over us’ as Jesus ‘chases’ us.
They eerily echo the false prophets of old, “The Lord has said, “You shall have peace”; And to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.’” – Jer 23:17 NKJV

Honestly, they are preaching “another Christ”; and dare I say… a ‘golden calf’ that looks like Christ Jesus, but is not Him. And to God’s people, whom Jesus longs to bring into True deliverance and freedom from sin, He says concerning these ‘ear tickling’ preacher-men behind many pulpits today -
"Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
They make you worthless;
They speak a vision of their own heart,
Not from the mouth of the Lord.”

- Jer 23:16 NKJV

We’ll touch more on this aspect of “another Christ” later.

Friends, my point is not to bring conviction or tear down anyone’s faith, but only, as I believe Paul is warning us, to have us examine the foundation on which we are building our faith. Is our foundation on solid “rock” or sinking “sand”? Is what we are being taught in our fellowship in line with the “whole counsel” of the Word of God? Or are we hearing the traditions of man built, over the centuries - perhaps from well-intentioned folks, but – on “wood, hay & stubble”?

This is what the Lord God said concerning the prophets then, as well as those who would come in the “latter days.”

“I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran.
I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in My counsel,
And had caused My people to hear My words,
Then they would have turned them from their evil way
And from the evil of their doings.”

- Jer 23:21-22 NKJV

I fully believe we can have assurance in God’s promises… if we are walking in a way that is “pleasing” to Him: in repentance and obedience. Honestly, we cannot be confident if we are not meeting God’s conditions.

As we looked last time, we found that although God had provided for them all things needed after saving them, “He was not well pleased with them”, and we are warned – “that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.” (1Cor 10:5-6)

In the wilderness, as God has leading them to the Promised Land, they fared poorly in their testing and often looked back to the world they had been set free from. Reminiscing of the life they had been freed from, apparently forgetting they had been enslaved and miserable.
How about us? Where do our affections lie? Do we sometimes wish we could go back to our old life, or to some of the things we’ve been delivered from?

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” - 1John 2:15-17 NKJV

If the “God” we worship, or the “Jesus” we follow, tolerates, or is OK with our love of the world, our passions and lusts, or our prideful attitude (even if it concerns “church” accomplishments), then dare I say our eyes may be on an “idol” rather than the Living God and His Son Jesus.

Again, from our opening passage -
“Don’t become idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and got up to play.” – 1Cor 10:7 HCSB

I believe the Lord equates engaging in lifestyles & behavior contrary to God’s will as “idolatry”, especially when addressing the “saints” for knowing God’s will for His people yet choosing to do otherwise is following another “god” be it one of the “gods of the nations”, our own self-will on the throne, or a man-made “Jesus.”

The Apostle Paul, in nearly every letter to the churches, warns of the consequences of submitting to the wrong Lord, and I believe as well, to “another Christ”
“For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.” – Eph 5:5-7 NKJV

We see that those who “covet” the temporal pleasures of this world, such as did the Israelite’s in the wilderness, God views as “an idolater.” Unless such truly repent, these will forfeit their inheritance in God’s Kingdom. And that includes you & I.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1Cor 6:9-10 NKJV

Paul repeats this warning concerning “idolaters” in 1Cor 5:10-11, Gal 5:19-21, and Col 3:5; as well as does Peter in 1Pet 4:3, and John in Rev 21:6 and Rev 22:15.

Constructing that “molten calf” of gold, an “idol” of which Aaron said to the people, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” (Ex 32:4), immediately caused the people, God’s chosen ones, to enter into carnal living. We’re told by the Lord Jesus that “the love of most will grow cold” (Matt 24:12); which tells me that these are “Christian” people, because they once had “love.” Yet something caused them to return to carnal living. What “golden calf” have we come to trust in that allows us to continue living “according to the flesh”?

Along with Matt 24:36-39 which we read above, Jesus again in Luke addresses what will be taking place in the end times, as so many – including those in the churches – have become caught up in the “cares of this life” -

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” 
- Luke 17:26-30 NKJV

Sadly, I’ve heard these passages from Matthew 24 & Luke 17 spoken of as though it were a good thing: that we as Christians have no need to worry, for Jesus has saved us, given us abundant life, and we will all keep on living as we’ve been, going about our daily activities until Jesus comes to take us all away. So… let’s eat, drink and be merry, for Jesus is coming soon. I believe this understanding has come about due to the preaching of “another Christ.” Jesus is often portrayed today as a Savior who would do anything to get us to ‘accept Him.’ He will run after us, break down every door, climb every mountain in His pursuit of us; again, because He loves us so much, even if we remain immersed in our sin. This “Jesus” is a “golden calf”, one faintly similar to, but in reality, a substitution for, the Jesus of the Bible, who is the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev 17:14), He who “judges and makes war in righteousness” (Rev 19:11), the One who will “recompense us for our deeds done in the body, whether good or bad.” (2Cor 5:10). He invited many to “follow” Him, yet when they made excuses, He let them go; and when “many” turned away from Him and “followed Him no more” He did not run after them. And in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Father was waiting until the young man “came to his senses”, but He did not go seeking after him. He welcomed his son when he made the choice to come back to his father. The images we have molded of both Jesus and God in our religion today often differ greatly from the what the Scripture has to say concerning our heavenly Father and our Lord & Savior.

Do we really believe Jesus is coming again? Have we settled into saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation” (2Pet 3:4), and failing to be “ready and watching”?

The Scripture prophesies of Jesus return (Acts 1:11), and Jesus has promised to come again (Rev 22:7). 

So, as we wait, what are we doing? Are we “redeeming the time” by “pressing in”, using our “talents” wisely, and “presenting our bodies a living sacrifice” that we might be “transformed by the renewing of our mind” and “conformed into the image of God’s Son”? Or are we looking to a ‘golden calf’ that the churches have erected, and become comfortable and content with being “saved” from bondage, now going about our lives as we see best, while truthfully still a great distance from our inheritance in the promised land?

The Word tells us that Jesus is returning to bring “salvation” to those who have been “saved” (showing us there is much to “being saved”, and the “Gospel”, then we have known. But that is another study) and are “waiting for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13) -

“Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.” – Heb 9:28 NKJV

As we “wait”, let us not follow the example of those in the Exodus, who grew restless waiting to hear from the One True God and formed their own version of their “savior” and worshipped that which they called “God” yet led them into carnality and darkness.

The Apostle admonishes us to “cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.” (Rom 13:12b-13)

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Light is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

Walk in Wisdom
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” - Eph 5:8-16 NKJV

Oh saints, let us be “sober and vigilant” along our Journey and keep our feet upon that “Highway of holiness.” I pray, as did Paul, that we “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.” – 1Cor 15:34 NKJV

If this word convicts us, as it convicted me, may it cause us to repent and stay the course that the Lord has set before us and remember that Jesus is with us if we choose to walk the Way of the Cross. For there is truly an incredible inheritance to be had for those who remain faithful. Amen.

  “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord shines over you.
For look, darkness covers the earth,
and total darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will shine over you,
and His glory will appear over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your radiance.

Raise your eyes and look around:
they all gather and come to you;
your sons will come from far away,
and your daughters will be carried on the hip.
Then you will see and be radiant,
and your heart will tremble and rejoice,
because the riches of the sea will become yours
and the wealth of the nations will come to you.”

- Isaiah 60:1-5 HCSB



God’s Wisdom and Understanding to all,

Next… Temptation




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