Have you ever sat in an Old Testament Bible Study and thought to yourself “How stupid are those Israelites??! I would never do anything like that!!”. Maybe its their lack of trust straight after God has done something absolutely miraculous for them (crossing the red sea on dry land and watching the Egyptians perish and yet being too scared to take on what lies ahead in the promised land for example). Maybe it’s their long list of wants and needs that keep growing (water isn’t good enough, we want food. Manna isn’t good enough we want meat as well). There are so many instances of this that sometimes I find myself getting exasperated with them and thinking “well I would NEVER do that!”.
Oh how foolish I am! For a few months I have been pondering on the story of the move from Egypt, across the desert, into the promised land. I think it resembles our situation of being in limbo quite a lot, and I have journaled quite a few pages based on this. But this one story jumped out at me last week – the story of the Golden Calf.
me and my golden calf
You see, things are now at a point in our house move where we are just waiting. Waiting for solicitors to do their job. Waiting for official people to sign off on stuff. Waiting and waiting and waiting. And its in the waiting that often problems come up, because we get impatient to wait for God to sort things. We are very good at trusting God when things are moving forward and look positive, but as soon as that progression stops so does our trust. This was the situation for the Israelites in the desert. They were moving forward, and then Moses decides to go up a mountain and meet with God. They were fine with it at first. Just decided to chill out and have a rest. But this meeting seemed to go on for quite a while ( I mean it was an important meeting – the 10 commandments amongst other things were being given) and the Israelites started to get impatient and restless. Rather than turning to God, they turned away from him and looked for something else (ANYTHING ELSE!!) that they could get some kind of comfort or answer from. For them, it was a golden calf. Why?! I guess it was probably quite similar to idols they had seen in Egypt so would have been a comfort initially (until they realised it could do nothing).
This got me thinking – what was I turning to during this time of waiting to provide me with the comfort that I should get from trusting God? When I thought long and hard about it, I decided it was worrying. Constantly over-thinking things and going over everything was sort of a go to move for me, and I guess it provided me with some comfort that I was kind of doing something about the problems (even though I wasn’t!). I also realised that food is a massive idol that I turn to when I get down or stressed about things, and I expect that nice food will cheer me up (it probably does momentarily but then I feel exactly the same and probably with stomach ache on top!). These things are common things in our culture now, so it is accepted that you deal with things like this – very similar to the Israelites making their golden calf.
how i turned that into a journaling page
All of this lead me on to make my own golden calf for my journaling page (ok so I printed off a picture I found on google) and then add my particular idols. I made the calf a bit more bling with some glittery brads I had lying around, and then used gold embossing powder to stamp the words on the side. I embossed some swirly patterns on the page too and then wrote these words to remind me what I had learnt:
“People say that religion is a crutch. Well what other things are you using as a crutch instead of trusting in God? For me it is worrying and it. And also comfort eating. THEY HAVE NO POWER. Only God does.”
“When you’re waiting for God to move in his perfect timing, don’t turn to something else for comfort. Idols are powerless, useless, a waste of time and energy and a crutch that you don’t need.”
Now all I need to do is try to fix my eyes back on God and trust him through all of this (and his perfect timing) rather than worry and eating my way through it!! Why don’t you have a go at making your own golden calf page, and add the words of what you use as an idol or crutch to get through times of waiting on God. I’d love to see what you come up with!