A Matter of the Heart

Idols. Everyone has heard the word and we all have some particular idea of what is an “idol.” In the book of Exodus (Chapters 32,33) there is a clear instance where the children of Israel worshipped an idol: the golden-calf. While Moses was on the mountain top receiving the Ten Commandments from God, the children of Israel led by Aaron, forged a golden-calf and in the name of The Lord, worshipped it!

What happened was that when Moses was sent down to the camp, he broke the tablets that God had given him and took his tent and pitched it outside of the camp. If anyone, then, desired to receive a word from God they had to go outside the camp to Moses’ tent because here was God’s presence.

In Hebrews we are told that the children of Israel and their experiences are examples to us. So what is this matter of the golden-calf and the worshipping of it?

First of all, it is a matter of our heart. An idol, isn’t just a golden-calf (or otherwise) statue that we glorify. An idol is anything set up in our heart that usurps God’s place in us. Ezekiel 14:5, 7-8  shows us this; it reads: “That I may lay hold of the house of Israel in their heart, who have become estranged from Me because of all their idols…For each and every man of the house of Israel or of the sojourners who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart…I will set My face against the man, and I will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people…”

What “thing” is usurping God’s place in our heart? How can we remove the idols from our heart? Well, in the case of the children of Israel, Moses reacted by pitching his tent outside the camp. What does this mean? Did you notice the words that I italicized in my recounting of the story above? “In the name of the Lord.” That’s right, look at the verses themselves:

Exodus 32:4-6 And he [Aaron] took the gold from their hand and fashioned it with an engraving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt! And when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; then Aaron made a proclamation and said, Tomorrow shall be a feast to Jehovah. And they rose up early on the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

Did you catch that? “a feast to Jehovah.” They also did it with an altar and with offerings, just the way God had ordained all of their forefathers to worship Him. But was this the true worship that God desired? Obviously not, when God saw this He told Moses that the people had “corrupted themselves.” In fact, the reason Moses left the camp was because the entire camp had become corrupted. These were God’s people! The camp here signifies corrupted religious people who though they belong to the Lord in name, in actuality worship idols, that is they worship something and seek for something other than the Lord Himself.

We need to be those who remove the idols from our heart so that we “leave” our own corrupted religion and seek the Lord “outside the camp.” In Hebrews, we are given the secret of how to do this. Hebrews 6:19 states “Which we have as an anchor of the soul, both secure and firm and which enters within the veil” To enter within the veil is to come into the Holy Place. This is our spirit. When we turn our heart to the Lord, then the Lord has a way to work within us to remove all of the idols from our heart and give us a pure heart that seeks after only God Himself.

So, I will leave you with this: Psalms 27:8 “When you say, Seek My face,/ To You my heart says, Your face, Oh Jehovah, will I seek.”

Remember how God said He would turn His face against the one with idols set up in his heart? Well, Just like those who sought after God’s presence were required to go outside the camp, so when we answer the call in Psalms 27 to seek His face, we too will automatically be brought “outside the camp.”

Seek God, while He may yet be found. 😉