In my previous post, Turn your eyes, I wrote about how worship should change us, when we choose to change what we’re looking at. Keeping our eyes fixed on God, and not even the manifestations of His presence and power about us, is key to authenticity in worship.
Settling for less
The Israelites were surrounded by manifestations of God’s presence when they headed out of Egypt to their promised land: they were led continuously by pillars of cloud and fire – not something you see everyday, really – and their food fell to the ground without fail every breakfast, waiting to be collected. And yet, as it says in today’s verse, “they exchanged their glorious God for a statue of a bull that eats grass”! In the midst of the miraculous, they forgot where it was all coming from and settled for something that had no power, no glory, no presence and no life!
I like the way the New Century Version puts it too, to make the distinction so clear – from a ‘glorious God’ to a ‘statue of a bull’. No matter what the Israelites did to their statue, no matter what skill they employed or carefully-worded praise, or clever rationalisation – it was just a statue and it was no comparison to the glory and magnificence of God.
When we fix our eyes on God, the man-made things around us really do pale in significance; not because they are rubbish or badly made or anything like that, but just simply because God is so glorious, so incredibly magnificent, so awesomely and superlative-exhaustingly great. The Israelites were easily distracted, even when God’s presence was so clear and evident, because their hearts were distracted with their own desires and needs.
Let’s be worshippers whose eyes are fixed on Him, even when His power is evident around us.