We seek God. But we are often satisfied with a substitute. A short cut. A convenient idol. A comforting substitute religion when the real thing we crave delays his arrival, and based on our schedule, God is late. God has left the garden. Moses has left the camp. And we are left to our own devices. And oh, what devices we can craft with the aid of technology. Shining, beautiful, beguiling as they are addictive. Man’s first attempt at a solution, as always, involves building some Thing. Problem: God not present. Solution: Build idol, e.g., the golden calf.
“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’” (Exodus 32:1). And when the party’s over we are left to drain the dregs of our misguided, reckless binge. “And he [Moses] took the calf the people had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it” (verse 20).
Addicted to Regret
No one escapes. It is the price we pay for being human. Our former beloved idol is ground to dust and we are forced to drink up. Yes, remorse is a cup from which we all drink. Remorse itself is not a problem—in fact it is a vital part of the process of repentance. A necessary stage that signals our intention to change direction.
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