Not all that glitters is God

Waiting in line at the grocery store is never fun, especially when accompanied by 2 little ones under the age of 3.  Some genius decades ago discovered the wonder of “impulse shopping”. Now every checkout aisle at every store is overflowing with candies, trinkets, sodas, and gadgets for the impatient adults & curious children (sometimes vice versa). I  walk in to the store on a mission to get everything on my list and get out. My toddler isn’t on the same page. By the end of our shopping experience he is squirming, chatting, and grabbing. Waiting for me to checkout all of the groceries is just not a part of his plan. Five seconds into waiting and all of the sudden he’s hungry, he needs candy, or he’s thirsty and needs some of that juice in the cooler. I’ll tell him that we are about to leave and I’ll cook a real and satisfying meal for him, but he wants instant gratification. He wants the candy because it is something that he sees right in front of him, meanwhile the delicious meal is just a promise of something that will come later. He physically sees the ‘now’, and not the ‘later’. As a 2.5 year old, Lazarus  will naturally choose the immediate, temporary fix over the “on its way” promise.

Lazarus shopping with me

But aren’t most humans like that? Choosing the double-priced lease over saving to buy if it means we get it now.  I know,  I know, some of you are thinking “no way! Not me, I’m smart with my money”. What about saving your purity for marriage? Inducing labor so you don’t have to be pregnant for another two weeks? Or an even easier example, choosing an alternate route so you don’t have to sit in traffic? Waiting is not in human nature and can bring out the worst in us; the carnal, animal parts of us we’ve buried beneath our religious and moral selves.There’s nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Being patient is just as challenging today as it was thousands of years ago.

“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 shallgo 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!””- ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭32:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The Israelites had the choice to encounter God on the same intimate level as Moses did, but they were too afraid.. so they stayed behind and had to wait for Moses to return on their behalf. This fear of entering God’s presence took root in their hearts and would later have them forgetting who God was and doubting His capability of provision.

Moses was on Mount Sinai, with the tangible presence of God, receiving the covenant that would set them apart as God’s chosen people, helping guide them to the promised land. But he was taking too long. Which must mean that God left them. In their minds, God forgot about them. So they decided to make their own false god whom they could immediately see and they pretended that this golden calf was the one, true Adonai. They even went so far as to make sacrifices to this counterfeit version of God. They wouldn’t have worshipped this statue if they truly knew it wasn’t the King of kings. What started out as fear led to impatience, then doubt.. and soon the chosen people of God, who walked through a parted sea, forgot who God was, what He looked like, and actually started believing the lie that the God of the creation was a golden calf!!!

It sounds like utter nonsense! But this is me. I’ve done this in my own way.

We trade the truth for a lie because the lie is usually more readily available or more sparkly. While waiting for the promise that God spoke to us, we conjure up our own pathways or go down the broad streets because they feel like solutions or provide us with that instant gratification. But it’s all temporary. Whatever is done by our own hands with the intention of self-reliance is just a counterfeit version of what God has for us. And it will not last.

Not all that glitters is God.

We overuse the term patience and make it sound like a bad thing. As if we are the ones doing all of the work and waiting for God to show up. But what if God is waiting on us? What if God is waiting on our hearts to get it together? The Israelites wanted to be out of the desert and into their own land, but they didn’t even have the faith to wait 40 days in order to receive the covenant that would help them get there. If they couldn’t have the faith to simply wait, how would they have the faith to fight off the literal giants that roamed the promised land? God knew this and that’s why He planned the process of waiting.

“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”- 2 Peter 3:8-9 (NASB)

Maybe, just maybe, the God of all creation knows what He is doing. Maybe the process of waiting is meant to continue molding you into the image of Jesus! Quit looking to the left or right at the sparkly gold and stay rooted on the firm foundation that is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Do you want the counterfeit version of God or do you want the real thing?

The choice truly is yours.

Stop trying to make an idol for yourself out of something that God wants to use for His glory.The Israelites were too afraid to go up the mountain into God’s presence-and you would think that they missed their one chance at a relationship with God-but God is so merciful that He had already planned on their weakness and was ready to come down to enter their presence instead.That same gold that they used to make an idol by their own works, God had intended for them to create a tabernacle out of faith for Him to come dwell with them in.

God wants our works done out of faith, not out of performance or self-reliance.

Nothing we could make or do on our own can compare to what God has in store for us. 

The golden calf vs. The One who split the Red sea.

When we are waiting for God to do what He said He was going to do, we can not look to the false gods around us to fulfill the promise that we are waiting for!

Wait on God. He’s really the one who’s patiently waiting. Let the process of waiting continue the process of consecration (being made holy or set apart). Once you hear God’s promise, and you wait on Him by faith…once it is finally time to take that step of faith, and build that extravagant yet empty tabernacle that makes no sense..once you allow the presence of God to come and fill that tabernacle built out of faith.. the glory of the King of kings is incomparable to any pretender. 

“Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. or throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.”- Exodus 40:34-38 (NASB)

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