“Their heart is divided; now they are held guilty. He will break down their altars; He will ruin their sacred pillars.” — Hosea 10:2 (NKJV)
It’s not always easy to live the Christian life in a public setting — whether in a sports organization or any other occupation, rookie or veteran, man or woman. We have a tendency to want to please our bosses, coaches, teammates, coworkers and fans. We may be more popular and get promoted if we laugh at dirty jokes and trifle with our commitment to God. If we push the envelope, we could get more pats on the back.
But our first concern should be honoring God. Do we let the crowd lead us, or do we fix our eyes on Jesus and follow Him in how we talk and act? We should be mindful of God’s standards and live in a way that pleases the Lord, while still avoiding a “holier than thou” attitude.
God is always watching and listening, so it was silly for the Israelites to act differently when Moses went up on the mountain to meet with God after leading all of them out of slavery in Egypt. During the 40-day period Moses was with God, Aaron was entrusted with leadership, and he failed the test miserably. The people got anxious and were quick to forget (or ignore) their faithful, living God and His commands for them. Aaron enabled the people to worship a false god by helping them create a calf from their gold earrings. And the Lord was not pleased with this:
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”‘” — Exodus 32:7-8
Aaron had been Moses’ right-hand man in the deliverance of the Israelites from hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt. He personally experienced God’s hand on them as they boldly came before Pharaoh. He could have — should have as the leader — prevented the ungodly worship of the golden calf, which included distasteful dancing and partying. But he, and the Israelites, had a divided heart. Their actions only demonstrated ungratefulness for where they were and all the miracles God did on their behalf just days before. Not to mention how disrespectful (and a repulsive example) they were to their tribes, family members and children by acting in such a manner. It is no wonder that God and Moses were disappointed and angry. It was inexcusable for the Israelites to flirt with a false god.
We may live in different times from Moses and Aaron, but we face the same temptation to have a divided heart. We should put forth our best efforts to be true to our God — we shouldn’t play footsie with the devil.
Paul urges us to “set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). How we act and treat others matters. We are called as Christians to be an example. When we conduct ourselves in ways that honor God, we can confidently forge the way for others to follow in our footsteps.
— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia
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