Read Exodus 32:1-6
1 When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain,they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said,”make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses,who brought us here from the land of Egypt.”
2 So Aaron said,”Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters,and bring them to me.”
3 All the people took the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 Then Aaron took the gold,melted it down,and molded it into the shape of a calf. When the people saw it,they exclaimed,”O Israel,these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
5 Aaron saw how excited the people were,so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then he announced,”Tomorrow will be a festival to the LORD!”
6 The people got up early the next morning to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. After this,they celebrated with feasting and drinking,and they indulged in pagan revelry. (NLT)
Don’t take too much notice of studies or surveys which reveal that lots of people still believe in God. The more searching question is to do with what sort of God engages our belief. The Bible says God made us in his own image. We busily go about making God in our image.
We want a tame God,one who will do our bidding. One who will support our causes and get stuck in to those who oppose us. We want a God who is an effective means to our own ends. We get tired of a sometimes hidden and mysterious God. We are wary of a God who might take us by surprise or upset our plans. That is probably why these ancient Israelites insisted on a visible,tangible,self-made God. After all that is what was common in those days.
This other God,hidden away on the mountain with Moses,was not playing their game. They were tired of serving this God. They wanted another deity to serve them. And this is the key difference between a follower of the God of the Bible and a believer in an imaginary deity. The latter is always at our bidding,always there to serve us. The God of the Bible,while ever willing to bless us,is over and above us.
God made us,we do not make him. God wants us to serve him,rather than bow to our demands that he serve us. By all means believe in God,but make sure the God you believe in is the real one. And there is only one.