Friday, September 18, 2009

Exchanging God's Glory

Studying for this Sunday's sermon on the Golden Calf "incident". I ran across this passage:

Psalm 106:19-20 19 They made a calf in Horeb And worshiped a molten image. 20 Thus they exchanged their glory [כְּבוֹדָם] For the image of an ox that eats grass.

ESV translates כְּבוֹדָם as 'glory of God' and NIV capitalizes glory to indicate glory is a euphemism referring to God. I think they are right. But this leads me to think that this passage is influencing what Paul writes is paradigmatic of all idolatry: the exchange of God's glory for something far inferior.

Romans 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

While Romans 1 focuses in on Gentile sins in particular until the other shoe drops in Romans 2, it should not go unnoticed that Israel herself had a storied history with idolatry--the zenith of such idolatry is Israel's infidelity at the very moment when God was solidifying His covenant vows with Israel as Moses' was up on the mountain. It's a bit like a bride getting caught at the wedding with another man. And yup, that is the grotesqueness of our sin in God's eyes. Reflecting on that should make His grace appear all the more gracious, loving and forgiving.

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