They gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf! (Ex. 32:24)

Most parents are acquainted with the childhood ploy of siblings blaming each other for misbehavior. “She started it.” “He hit me first.” “She threw the ball that broke the lamp.” “He wouldn’t give me a turn.” The variations are many, but the theme is the same—I’m not responsible for my reaction in this situation. In an even more sobering turn, I have often excused myself as a parent with this same line of reasoning. “Yes, I was too harsh in that moment of discipline, but I was upset.” All of us, regardless of age, can fall prey to this habit.

It’s not surprising then, that when it comes to our relationship with the God of heaven, we might try the same old trick. Especially if we are refusing what we know in our hearts is true. Aaron did: “The calf made itself. It wasn’t me!”

As you think about your worship this week, examine your motives and responses. Are you, am I, blaming others, or even God himself for a lack of energy, an absence of passion, in either our personal or public worship? When we try to make excuses for turning aside to worship another idol, all we are doing is proving our absorption with self. And that’s the root of idolatry anyway.

Don’t blame others for your golden calf. Tear it down yourself.

Valorie Quesenberry is a pastor’s wife and mom who lives in Indiana and likes to recharge with coffee and time with friends.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.