“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Thoughts on Stewardship – Lesson 23 from Deuteronomy
Are you Building a Golden Calf or the House of God?
Foundation Scriptures: Deuteronomy 9 verses 4 – 16
Do not say in your [mind and] heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out from before you, It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land–whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. 5 Not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your [minds and] hearts do you go to possess their land; but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out before you, and that He may fulfill the promise which the Lord swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 Know therefore that the Lord your God does not give you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a hard and stubborn people. 7[Earnestly] remember and forget not how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day you left the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. 8 Even in Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that He would have destroyed you. 9 When I went up the mountain to receive the tables of stone, the tables of the covenant which the Lord made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I neither ate food nor drank water. 10 And the Lord delivered to me the two tables of stone written with the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the Lord spoke with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly. 11 And at the end of forty days and forty nights the Lord gave me the two tables of stone, the tables of the covenant. 12 And the Lord said to me, Arise, go down from here quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have corrupted themselves. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made for themselves a molten image. 13 Furthermore the Lord said to me, I have seen this people, and behold, they are stubborn and hard. 14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under the heavens; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they. 15 So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain was burning with fire. And the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands. 16 And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the Lord your God; you had made for yourselves a molten calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way which the Lord had commanded you. Deuteronomy 9:4-16 AMP
The Children of Israel were miraculously delivered from the land of Egypt and from the slavery that they had been under for hundreds of years. In this passage, God reminds them of where He brought them from – how He delivered them in the past and His plan for blessing them in the future, if they would obey and serve Him.
When the Israelites were delivered from their captivity, God brought them forth with an abundance of silver and gold. They stripped the Egyptians of their wealth. God did this to repay them for the stuff that was taken from them, and also what they were owed, during their years of slavery. It was God’s way of making the Egyptians make restitution. Then He wanted to provide for them and give them all they needed to start a new life in the Promised Land. He wanted to make sure that they had sufficient to take care of themselves, as well as a surplus, so that they could build the house of God.
Something happened while Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Holy Commandments of God for the people. He was gone for 40 days. They thought he was dead and because of the evil in their hearts, they decided to build an idol to worship. Even though they were taken out of Egypt, Egypt was not yet taken out of them, so a golden calf was made from the offerings with which God had blessed them.
This was not God’s plan. God’s plan was for them to use their gold, jewels, and precious stones to build HIS house! An idol could be money, a house, a car, sport, music, another person, or your own good looks! An idol is anything that we value above God, Himself. God’s plan is not for us to waste money on idols. God’s plan is for us to be blessed and to bless the house of God.
Pastors Adonica’s Thoughts:
People might not believe that they really have an idol in their life that is above God, but the best way to know is by taking a look at your money and how and where it is spent. When you get paid, what is the first thing you do with your money? If you are a Christian, and you do not set aside the tithe before you spend anything else, God is not first in your life – you have a golden calf in there somewhere consuming your blessing!
Pastor Rodney’s Thoughts:
The Christian church, today, is no different from the children of Israel. The fact of the matter is that the Lord has blessed us, and will continue to bless us, when we obey and serve Him. However, His blessings are not to be spent on temporary idols of the flesh or mind, but His blessings are for the building of His house and that which is eternal. Understand this one thing – you will either give for a golden calf or you will give for the building of the house of God – but you WILL give. Don’t build idols, build God’s house, which will remain forever.
Prayer and Confession:
Father, I pray that you help me to never take my eyes off Your house. Help me not to look away from Your beauty and be turned to idols. I promise you that I will focus on eternal things – for all the carnal things shall pass away, but eternal things will never pass away.