Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away.
Personal rejection is surely one of the most painful human experiences. Why is it so difficult? Those who suffer rejection report feeling a loss of acceptance and often describe it as a failure to be accurately perceived. In other words, we are sometimes rejected because people fail to truly see us. The spiritually blind reject God for the same reason.
They turned. Like a stampeding herd of bulls, Israel’s heart ran home to Egypt. The visible manifestations of the invisible God dissolved from their memory soon after Moses disappeared on Mt. Sinai. In a sense, the congregation demanded of Aaron, “We can’t see God and we can’t see Moses—make us gods we can see!” When we fail to turn our hearts in faith, we turn our eyes to the false.
In what direction is your heart turned?
God turned. He could not stand the sight of His own people. When His people turn away, God turns them over. Romans 1 tells us that when people suppress the truth about God, He gives “them over to debased desires.” If repentance is turning from sin and to God, what happens when people turn from God and to sin. God repents! He turns from the sinful and to the holy; He turns to Himself. Lest we should suppress the truth, we must recognize that our righteousness does not exceed that of the Exodus generation.
What hope is there for us with a God who turns from sin?
Jesus turned. Stephan’s sermon to the Sanhedrin may be summarized as, “Like your forefathers, your hearts are turned the wrong way! Your hearts are turned toward tradition and temple to the exclusion of God’s Savior.” They could not see Jesus, so they made Judaism into a Golden Calf. When His people were similarly unfaithful in the Old Testament, God would either destroy their idols or exile the people. When the Temple was destroyed in AD 70, He did both. God turned and left the building.
The people turned to idols. God turned away. Jesus turned to the cross.
To what or to whom are the eyes of your heart turned? Do you see the Savior?
Sometimes we don’t see heroes even when they’re directly in our line of sight. Ms. Taylor was an elderly saint in the church at which I was a member many years ago. She was blind and lived alone, but she never missed worship. When she was in her early sixties, a man broke into her home and brutally assaulted her. That she survived and even forgave her attacker would be cause enough to sing her praises, but Ms. Taylor went so much further than the second mile. She began to regularly visit her assailant in prison, read the Bible to him, and eventually led him to faith in Christ. He could not see Jesus, but Ms. Taylor could, so she turned others to her Savior.
Do you see the Savior? If not, turn your heart toward home.