By Haddon W. Robinson
You shall have no other gods before Me. —Exodus 20:3
God had seized the attention of Pharaoh and the Egyptians with a series of plagues. Now they were dying to be rid of their Hebrew slaves. But God didn’t want the Israelites to leave Egypt empty-handed. After all, they had 400 years of wages due them. So they asked their former masters for articles of silver, gold, and clothing, and they got them. Exodus 12:36 says that the Israelites “plundered the Egyptians.”
It wasn’t long, however, until God’s people fell into idolatry. They used their gold to make a golden calf, which they worshiped while Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving God’s law (32:1-4).
This tragic experience highlights the tension that Christians are required to maintain regarding their possessions. There is much in our society that we enjoy, but material things also pose grave dangers when we use them thoughtlessly. Os Guinness says that we are “free to utilize” but “forbidden to idolize.” We are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13), and we must not become so enamored with “the riches of Egypt” that we grow complacent and forget our true calling.
Are we using our material blessings to serve the Lord? Or have we become slaves to them?
I have an old nature that noisily clamors
To satisfy empty desire;
But God in His goodness has sent me a Helper
Who whispers, “Your calling is higher.” —Gustafson
Gold can be a helpful servant but a cruel master.
Devotional forwarded to you by:
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC