“They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.” – Psalm 106:20 (ESV)
Sometimes I read a verse in the Bible and then have to shift into reverse and go back and read it again, and then again. The above verse is one of those verses. Read it yourself and think for a bit about how ridiculous it is ! Here the psalmist is referring to the episode in Exodus 32, where Moses returns to find the golden calf / idol that Aaron, his very own brother, helped to build. Now the Israelites worshiped the calf, and in so doing, “exchanged the glory of God.” Moses then burned the calf and ground it into a powder, threw it on the water, and made the Israelites drink it. I’ll bet it didn’t taste like Kool-Aid going down.
The Israelites had become impatient with Moses’ absence, and begged Aaron to build them a god they could see or touch. One that was supposedly more near to them than the true living God. So they lost faith. But as Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians, “we walk by faith, not by sight” (5:7). Losing faith makes us prone to setting up false idols with a false sense of security, as the Israelites were guilty of in this episode.
So this verse is absurd to me…but it’s absurd mainly because I am guilty of the same patterns in my life at times. A good reminder today from the psalmist about how dangerous this is.