False gods and Fleshly Distractions: Acts 7:41-43
“41) At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42) But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘It was not to Me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O house of Israel? 43) You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship. I also will remove you beyond Babylon.’” Acts‬ ‭7‬:‭41‬-‭43‬
With everything God did through Moses in signs and wonders in Egypt and during the Exodus, many of the people still served other gods. They made the golden calf and took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of Rompha. Their hearts were divided. They did not repent so as to seek God with a whole heart.
What happened? How did God respond? He turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven. He let them chase their own passions and spiritual deception. They forfeited fellowship with the one and only God. They filled their lives with empty and futile things.
We expect Gods judgement to be immediate wrath like the fire and brimstone He reigned down on Sodom and Gomorrah. But that’s not how He usually works. According to Romans 1:18-22, He just stands back and turns people and nations over to the consequences of their own actions and to seek their own passions. The inner void of man is filled with human depravity rather than God. Fellowship with God is cut off. Their lives are eaten up by vanity and futility.
Such was the condition of Israel during the time of Jesus. They had a form of religion but it was void of God. The people were empty, lost, sick, manipulated, oppressed by evil spirits and in bondage to sin. Jesus filled the void and offered living water, but the leaders rejected Him. They were walking in the footsteps of their forefathers.
It is not people who forsake God and hold Him at a distance, it is God who turns away and abandons people to vanity. He turns them over to the lusts of their own hearts.
God has made a way for us to have intimate fellowship and relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, but He does not force Himself upon any. God does not suffer from rejection nor does He have an identity crisis. He does not need us, we need Him! He leaves us to decide between Him and everything else. God doesn’t get in a funk when people reject Him. He really doesn’t need us, but He invites us into relationship with Himself.
We live with a man centered view of reality. We assume the world revolves around us. But the universe is not man centered, it is God Centered. He He is Creator, Sustainer and measure of all things. He is eternal while we are like a momentary blade of grass or wilting flower. We are very temporary.
The highest purpose in this life is finding true relationship with Creator God. But it must be on His terms and not ours. Mankind throughout history has been inventing gods according to fleshly passions. There are many distractions. But the true God has revealed Himself in His only begotten Son. He is not far off or hard to find. He has given us the Bible so that we might find Him.
What is displacing God in your life? What is your golden calf? To what god have you built a tabernacle in your heart? How long will you hold God at arms length?
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global