Bringing the Text to Life

The Golden Calf and the Golden Table James 1:17-27

Humanity continues to flex its creative muscles and invent new idols, new images of tiny gods at an impressive rate. From the moment that the ancient Hebrews began to worship only one God, people of faith have been confronted with the enticement of worshipping at the feet of many gods. What does the way of faith centered on belief in the omniscient power of one God have to offer to counter these gold-plated seductions of the spirit?

Today this former yearning after wisdom has been replaced by an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. But there is a tragic difference between the ancient quest for wisdom and our current addiction to knowledge. Knowledge, the stockpiling of information, is often indiscriminant in its tastes and unconcerned with its use. James cautions in this week's text that Christians become conscientious doers as well as hearers of God's word. Our desire for pure knowledge, untempered by wisdom, can lead to a similar threat. Steeped in knowledge, we can still sit comfortably, doing nothing. Wisdom, the gift from God, is necessary to guide the use of knowledge, as well as our use of the material goods, time, and energy we may reap as an offshoot of increased knowledge. Our lust for knowledge for its own sake has become a kind of idolatrous love a love for an inanimate, self-reflective mountain of cold facts and figures, a kind of golden calf of information.

In 2 Chronicles 13:8-11 the author...

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