God's people, the Israelites, were out in the wilderness. They were camped at the foot of a mountain, Mount Sinai. About a month before, they had heard the voice of God thundering down from the mountain. The scene had been so terrifying that they had begged Moses to not let God speak to them directly again. So Moses had gone up the mountain to receive God's laws for his people.

Now, a month later, the people were waiting for Moses to come back. And they were tired of waiting. So they went to Moses' brother Aaron and said, "Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him" (Exodus 32:1).

"Come, make us gods." Amazing. Just a few weeks before, they had heard God's voice. Now they wanted a god they could see and touch.

So Aaron gathered gold from the people and made them an idol. He shaped the gold into what was a common form for a fertility god in that part of the world. He made a golden calf.

God sent Moses back down the mountain to stop this abomination. In a famous scene, Moses threw down the tablets of the Ten Commandments which God had given him, shattering them. He confronted his brother, demanding to know why Aaron had done such a thing.

That's when Aaron offers one of the weakest excuses in the history of mankind: "They gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!" (Exodus 32:24).

"Out came this calf!" That's how it is when we sin, right? I wouldn't have done it, but he made me angry. I wouldn't have gone with that woman, but my wife was neglecting me. I wouldn't have stolen that money, but it was left out in the open. It wasn't my fault!

We will never fix our sin problems until we stop saying "out came this calf." We'll never be able to overcome the bad things in our lives until we stop making excuses, until we take responsibility for our actions.

When we sin (and that's what we need to call it), we need to admit that sin and ask God to forgive us. We also need to ask Him to help us conquer that sin by the power of His Spirit. For as long as we keep claiming that the golden calf made itself, claiming that our sins aren't really our fault, we'll never live the way God wants us to.

We'll never be able to overcome the bad things in our lives until we stop making excuses
Admit your sin. Let go of it. And overcome it with God's help.

Let's talk about how to do that. Discuss it with others at www.hopeforlife.org or write to me at tarcher@heraldoftruth.org, and we can talk about it privately.

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