In Exodus chapter 32, Aaron and the people cross a line when they try to replace God with a golden calf. The moment they decide to build the idol, they cross the line from being servants of God to trying to be sovereign over their circumstance.
Then Moses comes close to crossing that line when he switches from asking God what to do to telling God what to do. (Ex. 32:32) God responds by reminding Moses that He is God and would do what He chose to do. (Ex. 32:33-34)
There are at least three reasons we sin and move from servant to sovereign:
- We get impatient. You can see this in Exodus 32:1. In this day of cell phones and instant messaging, we are not good at waiting. When God seems to be taking too long, we let ourselves imagine the worst and begin to do things ourselves. When this happens, we need to get control of our thinking (2 Cor. 10:5) and patiently wait on God. (Ps. 46:10)
- We think we should know all the details of what God is doing. You see this also in Exodus 32:1. We want to be completely in the know, but God doesn’t always work that way. (Isa. 55:8) We must learn to live by faith and not by sight. (Heb. 10:38)
- We become too casual and familiar with God. Though God goes out of His way to pursue us, have a relationship with us, and call us His friend, we must never forget that He is not like us. His is the “Holy Other.” He is pure, powerful, and righteous; exhibiting not just love but wrath. We must never lose our awe and reverence for God.
It is so easy to subtly cross the line from servant to sovereign. May God make us aware when this happens and help us to turn back to being humble servants.
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.