“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NLT)
When my daughters were young, I would read Bible stories to them and we would discuss them. There was one story in particular they both considered to be hilarious. When God gave Moses the ten commandments, and Moses came down from the mountain—after being gone for quite some time—he found the Israelites worshipping a golden calf.
This is how the conversation between Moses and Aaron went:
He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?”
“Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” (Exodus 32:21-24)
My girls were amazed at how Aaron could even say such a thing with a straight face. The fact that a grown man would say he threw gold into a fire and out came a calf amazed them. How ridiculous!
We think about this Bible story and wonder how Aaron could have dared to fashion an idol in the image of a calf, build an altar in front of it, and lead the people to present sacrifices to it. The thought is utterly absurd, especially when you take into consideration all the things God had done for them already.
I used to think if I had been there and actually saw God part the Red Sea, I would never doubt His existence ever again. So how could the Israelites see such miracles and then make a golden idol and worship it?
The sad—and scary—fact is many of us do the same thing. We may not physically fashion an idol with our hands, but we sure do try to make God fit into our molds of how we think He thinks, and what He considers sin to be. We have forgotten that He created us in His image and not the other way around.
This is why we must continually read the Holy Bible and remind ourselves of what God is really like. He has given us a clear picture of His character, His power, His Sovereignty and most of all His holiness. However, when those qualities don’t exactly line up with our fleshly desires, we tend to soften His edges and like putty in our hands squeeze Him into the molds of our ideas, traditions—or false interpretations—of what His Word says.
I recently posted a blog entitled, “Brace Yourselves,” in which I shared what I sensed the Holy Spirit was speaking to me. There was an overwhelming amount of positive responses and I give all the glory to God for that. However, one lady made a not so nice comment and it totally took me aback.
Quoting part of what I said in the blog she commented, “‘I am not playing games’... lol! We need to stop making God into our own image with our own vernacular.”
At first it upset me, but then I wondered what does she think the voice of the Holy Spirit sounds like? Does He only speak King James English? No, He does not. He speaks our language. He is a translator between God and man, so of course He speaks to us in words we can comprehend.
However, in her mind, God could only speak a certain way. But, why would the Holy Spirit only speak in King James English, especially since Jesus didn’t speak King James English Himself when He physically walked the earth? We can be sure that God never changes, but His voice is clear to all.
To say God couldn’t speak in our vernacular would also mean He can’t speak Spanish, Chinese, Russian or any other foreign language simply because we can only hear His voice in King James English, or any other way we have imagined Him to speak. So, how does He communicate with other parts of the world?
This is just one example of making God fit our traditional views of Him. Another example would be limiting our praises to only hymns, and vilifying contemporary songs of worship. Some presume to accept a God Who only likes hymns, and despises other songs of worship based on how they view Him. (i.e., If our taste is more suited to songs in hymnals, then God certainly must prefer hymns also.) We can become a stumbling block to others when we try to make God fit into our traditions.
Unfortunately some churches have created a God who approves of sins such as lying, stealing, cheating, and homosexual lifestyles. Their image of God condones and approves of fornication, people shacking up before marriage, abortion, and a God that has totally forgotten how many genders He created. This is almost as absurd as the calf coming out of the fire.
Sometimes people want to try to soften the blow when it comes to the Word of God and His absolute Truth simply to justify their fleshly desires. But we cannot change a God who has absolutely stated that He never changes. If we change our minds about Him we are guilty of creating and worshipping an idol—a God in our own idea or image of Him.
We simply cannot bring God down to our own standards. His Holy Word is the Standard we must live up to. There is no other way to live a life dedicated to Him. God has called us to be a Holy people striving every day to be transformed to His image, and not to be conformed to the image and morals of the world.
Anything we put before God is an idol whether that may be our preferences, our desires, an individual we admire, a hobby, sport or other interest. Not to say we can’t enjoy those things, but if they come between us and God—and if our focus is fixed on those things rather than God—it is an idol. We must continually watch for idols that sneak into our lives.
To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to desire to be more like Him and not to replace Him, or try to change Him to fit our tastes.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
(Colossians 3:1-5 ESV)