Reserving the Empty Space in Your Heart

Steven Rodriguez

Read: Exodus 32:1-14

The people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain. (v. 1)

What is it about long-distance relationships that makes them so hard? Whenever someone moves, they quickly discover which friendships have deep enough roots to survive the arid conditions of occasional phone calls, letters, and visits. It is so much harder to stay friends with someone without the help of embodied, face-to-face fellowship. And yet that is exactly what God calls us to do when he commands us, “You shall not make for yourself an idol” (Exod. 20:4 NRSV).

In today’s passage, the people of Israel are impatient with God’s absence. Moses is taking forever to come back down the mountain, and they grow restless with God’s silence. They would rather worship a hunk of gold than wait and face the emptiness of the silence of God. In this way, their idolatry is a failure of patience. For us too it is so hard to wait in this in-between time between Jesus’ first and second coming. While we wait, God calls us to keep the house of our hearts clear of cluttering idols. There’s a deep longing inside us that will only be satisfied by Jesus Christ, when he returns. If idolatry is a failure of patience, then the opposite of idolatry is Christian hope, the conviction of things that we cannot yet see (Rom. 8:24-25; Heb. 11:1). Can you be vigilant, saying no to any idol that tries to fill the empty space of your heart? —Steven Rodriguez

Prayer: Lord, only you can satisfy my deepest longings. Fill me with holy, hopeful patience.