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Turning Away

People were made to worship God, which means we’re hardwired to pour out our love and affection. But because of our sinful nature, our devotion is often misappropriated to things other than God. This is called idolatry. In Exodus and Matthew, Aaron and Peter demonstrate the grave consequences of idolatry and ease with which we can fall into its trap. 

Aaron was Moses’ older brother and was appoint by God to be the Isrealites’ priest. He saw first hand the works God performed through his brother. But while Moses was atop Mount Sinai, Aaron’s faith was easily corrupted. Frustrated that Moses was taking so long, the Israelites asked Aaron to make them a god. To appease them, Aaron constructed a golden calf to be their new object of worship. As Moses approached his brother, he inquired, “What did this people do to you that you have brought such a great sin upon them?” (Exodus 32:21). The short answer is that a priest, a man who was literally at the right hand of Moses, had his worship realigned toward a false god with nothing more than peer pressure. Similarly, we will all have our faith tested in our relationships with others.

Peter experiences the pull of peer pressure in Matthew 26. Peter denies knowing Jesus three times when asked by onlookers about his allegiance to Jesus. Even better, these three denials come after Jesus expressly told Peter, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times” (Matthew 26:34). This is such a beautiful example of Jesus’s love and understanding for us, even in the face of our rebellion. Jesus gave Peter a blueprint of when and where he would disavow his worship, yet he was still unable to avoid turning his back on the Lord. When Peter realized his sin, he was so distraught that he “went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). 

We all will stumble in our walk with Jesus, but there is tremendous grace in knowing that God is fully expectant and forgiving of those lapses when we belong to Jesus. The challenge for all of us is to be more in tune to our moments of idolatry, and seek repentance and sanctification moving forward.

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