The Golden Calf
A Sermon on Acts 7:39-43
Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:
“‘Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices,
during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
You took up the tent of Moloch
and the star of your god Rephan,
the images that you made to worship;
and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’ (ESV)
What is your idol? What do you worship? With Acts 7:39-43, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones starts with the ancient Israelites, who after being delivered from their bondage in Egypt, fashion an idol of gold made in the image of a calf. They then proceed to bow down and worship it, even claiming that it was this god that brought them out of Egypt. Dr. Lloyd-Jones then points out that modern man is no different. While it is true that we do not make graven images to bow down to, nevertheless we fashion idols out of money, cars, houses, and pleasure. We worship our own humanity and greatness. The consequences for rejecting the true and living God and worshipping idols in his place are most severe. For Scripture tells of the great day of wrath that will pour out on all who reject the true God and do not believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no escaping this judgment, for God has commanded that he alone be worshipped and praised. But God has provided a means of salvation and freedom from sin and idolatry. He has sent his only Son into the world to save all who believe and repent. Jesus Christ died upon the cross and rose from the grave so that men may know and worship God as he is.