Friday, February 12 Devotion

from John Cullen

Readings: Acts 7:35-42

“This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush.  He led them out of Egypt and performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the wilderness. “This is the Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your own people.’ He was in the assembly in the wilderness, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living words to pass on to us. “But our ancestors refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.  They told Aaron, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt—we don’t know what has happened to him!’ That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and reveled in what their own hands had made.  But God turned away from them and gave them over to the worship of the sun, moon and stars. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: “‘Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?  Acts 7:35-42

Today, we live in a world full of idols.  In Moses' day the idols were much more apparent.  Men created objects with their hands and then bowed down to them.  The Israelites melted gold to form into the image of a calf and worshipped it.  All this after the Israelites had seen God perform amazing miracles before their eyes.  Starting with the plagues in Egypt, then the the parting of the Red Sea, followed by the food provided in the wilderness on a daily basis, etc.  They were eyewitnesses to the physical miracles God was doing before them and still turned to the pagan practices of worshipping idols.

Our idols today are much more subtle.  The question we must ask ourselves is, "what is the most important thing in my life?".  Maybe it is money, or our job, or maybe comfort, entertainment, sports, politics, or just self.  As followers of Christ, we have received the greatest miracle in our salvation.  We have been taken from death to eternal life through the power of God working in our lives.  But the allures of all the gods around us can be so enticing.  Why serve god when you can be so fulfilled with money, sports, etc.  The true test of what is important to us is maybe what we are most fluent in.  What do we speak about most passionately in our lives.  Do we know every detail of the stock market inside and out and can offer extensive advise in every detail?  Maybe we worship at the alter of our favorite sports team and can speak eloquently and exhaustively about our team. Maybe it's politics.  We can go into passionate defenses of our favorite political party or candidate.  Or maybe it is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we love to talk about.

God has always shown man physical miracles to reveal his power as described in our passage.  Bur the greatest miracle would start with God's messianic prophecy in our passage that he was raising up a prophet from the Israelites, Jesus, who would give us living words.  Jesus would save his people from their sins and bestow upon his people, through faith, eternal life, not just in heaven, but on earth.  If that doesn't get you fired up, then we are really missing what Jesus has done.  He died for his enemies, which is us, so that he could have an intimate relationship with us every day.  He wants to tell us every day that we are his sons and daughters, whom he loves and is well pleased with.  It doesn't get better than that.  The God of the universe talking with us daily and sharing his love to us in the most intimate way through his living words.

Money will be lost, sports teams will fail us, entertainment lasts only a while, politicians will always let us down.  Jesus is the only one in our lives who will never fail and never leave us.  All the idols in our lives that seem so appealing will all let us down.  But as we see daily how much we are loved by God, we become fluent in a language of thanksgiving and praise that our lives become centered on the miracle of God's love for us and it takes us over.  No earthly God can offer anything compared to the riches we have in Christ.  It's not even close.