I am not like those Israelites in the wilderness, the ones who handed over their riches to make the likes of a golden calf. I clutch to my idols in their original form. I do not trust a maker of any sorts with my valuables, I trust only myself. I adorn myself in them.
I wonder sometimes if all the Israelites gave Aaron their jewelry on that day, or if there were some who held back because an idol in their hands was better than one melded with a hundred thousand other idols.
Remember when Rachel hid the idols of her father’s household in her satchel? She carried them with her just in case. Just in case God failed her, just in case He didn’t come through, just in case the unseen God wasn’t as dependable as the seen gods. Just in case He didn’t give her what she wanted.
Sometimes the only way you can spot an idol is to have it wrenched from your hands. Empty hands can reveal idolatry.
Sometimes idols in the ancient Near East were the big kind you envision in temples, massive stone or golden statues with people prostrate around them in every form. But common ones were small ones, pocketed bits of clay and wood and rock—things they could pull from their pockets at a moments notice, to fill the void, cure boredom, feel validated, and seek answers from.
The message to the idol worshipper is the same as to the law worshipper, the same to the younger son as to the elder, the same to the Gentile as to the Jew: that idol and that law will only reveal your need for a Savior and a Father.
Underneath the gold and silver plated idols was the stuff of the earth: clay, wood, rock. All that glitters is not gold. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”