Invited and Chosen

Day 34

Prayer for the day

Come, let us sing to the LORD; Let us rejoice this day in the strength of our salvation. Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving, and raise a loud shout to Him with psalms.

Scripture for the day

Exodus 31-33, Matthew 22:1-22

The Israelites as a people have always fascinated me. I remember as a young man thinking that as a nation, the people of Israel weren’t overly thoughtful. They were rescued by God and then saw God’s glory and did amazing things, and still they constantly wavered in their commitment. I remember thinking of them as weak-willed, silly people. And I remember my own story.

My story is likely similar to your story. God is gracious to me. I respond in gratitude. Until I forget. And the second my eye is captured by anything that looks like it may be pleasurable, beneficial, or would bring me personal happiness, I forget the God who did such wonderful things for me, and slide into idolatry. Idolatry is any form of worship that is due to God but given to something else. It may be physical, emotional or spiritual, but the effect of idolatry is always the same: it grieves the God we claim to worship.

The golden calf story is one of the clearest examples of idolatry in the Scriptures. Moses is on the mountain meeting with the Holy God of Israel who has rescued and then sustained His people. They stand below, waiting and watching. But they grow bored. They forget. They wonder if Moses has died up there on the mountain. So they ask his brother to give them God. Moses failed, they say, so you do it. Give us God. And he gives them an idol.

They were invited to the feast of God, to witness God’s glory and grandeur, and they chose to head to a different party.

Jesus tells a similar story about the kingdom of Heaven and the guests who are invited. The wedding feast is prepared and the invited guests suddenly have better things to do. They know what goodness awaits, but what they’ve got in front of them is immediately gratifying, so they say “no.” The king sends out his servants to others to invite them to the wedding feast, and so the story goes.

These invited but busy guests have a lot in common with the people of Israel and with you and me. We all witness God’s goodness and glory, but the light fades, the memories drift, and we long for something more immediate and obvious. And we become idolaters, worshipping our immediate pleasure, immediate gratification, immediate happiness, joy, or whatever we worship.

We forget God. And we grieve God. May God have mercy.

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