Worshipping the Golden Calf

During Moses’ absence, when he went up Mount Sinai, the Israelites cast an enormous statue of a golden calf. Imagining that it contained supernatural powers, they laid treasured offerings at it’s feet and prayed for miracles. When Moses returned, he was incensed that the children of Israel, believers in the One God, would revert once again to pagan behavior. Resolving to put an end to it, he fervently implored his fellow Jews to stop this fruitless practice, to notice that that which they worshipped was inert and undeserving of the powers and status they had bestoyed upon it.

Moses engaged his brothren in inquiry asking them if it was true that a statue that they created with their own hands could possibly be God? How could it have the power to remove their heartaches or grant their prayers? In this way, Moses helped the Israelites to see that they had been engaged in magical thinking that couldn’t have any basis in truth.

Hearing this story, it’s easy to poke fun at the Israelites and label their behavior as ignorant or even comical. How could they have been so foolish as to mistake an idol for God? Yet, when we install food on our altars, seeing it as our God, our companion and our savior, we are no different! They expected an inert golden calf to provide them with what it could not, and we look to food to give us what it cannot.

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The Pleaser Disease

How can you know if you’ve been infected with The Pleaser Disease? Here are some questions to help you figure it out. Do you often find yourself doing things that you really don’t want to do, saying “yes” when you really mean “no?” Do you give up something you want so that other people can have what they want? Is your mantra, “Whatever everyone else wants to do is fine with me”? If any of this sounds familiar, do you imagine that these “others” will repay your sacrifice by thinking well of you? Do you expect that they will like you more because you anticipated their needs and wants and did your best to fulfill them? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, do not “pass go,” proceed immediately to the inquiry in the rest of this article to route out The Pleaser Disease.

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