There is a story in the Bible about people who were supposed to love God––but do you know what they really loved. They really loved gold––so they made a Golden Calf out of their gold––and they began to worship the Golden Calf instead of God.
How do you suppose it made God feel to see those people loving that Golden Calf instead of loving God? (Give the children a chance to answer.) It made God feel really bad, because God had taken care of those people. They had been slaves in Egypt, and God helped them to escape. They had run short of water, but God gave them plenty of water to drink. They had run short of food, so God fed them. They had plenty of reasons to love God––but they really loved their Golden Calf.
When God saw them dancing around their Golden Calf, he punished them. They had to grind up their Golden Calf into a fine powder––and mix it with water––and drink it. They didn’t love that! I don’t know what gold tastes like, but I don’t ever want to have to grind up any gold into a powder and then drink it! How about you!
God punished them for the same reason that your parents sometimes punish you. God wanted them to remember not to do something like that again. God wanted to remind them that he was the one they should love––not some old Golden Calf.
And it worked! Those people made other mistakes, but they never again made themselves a Golden Calf. Whenever they thought about what they had done, it reminded them to love God instead of gold.
They did something else really good too. They told their children and their grandchildren what they had done, so their children and grandchildren would never make the kind of mistake they had made. They wanted their children and grandchildren to love God instead of gold.
Sometimes we are tempted to love things that aren’t really very important. You might love your toys. That’s OK as long as your toys don’t become more important to you than God.
Jesus said that we should love God more than anything else––and he said that if we did that, God would give us the other things that we need (Matthew 6:33).
God loves you and takes care of you. Don’t forget to love God.
Copyright 2012, Richard Niell Donovan