The people of Israel more often give us what-not-to-do examples rather than this-is-what-you-should-do examples. One of these examples come from Exodus 32. We are all familiar, maybe too familiar, with the story about the people of Israel making a golden calf. But we may not be too familiar with 12:35-36.
Exodus 12:35-36 says, “The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.”
After 430 years in Egypt, most of the time spent in slavery, God delivered Israel from Egypt, and not only did he deliver them but also gave them the Egyptians’ valuables! Therefore, when we skip to Exodus 32, the golden calf story takes on a new dimension. You see, they used the gold jewelry that they most likely received from the Egyptians (though it does not directly say) to make for them gods. They took the very possessions that God had given them and turned them into a god. They went from putting trust in the only God to putting trust into the things which God had given them when they left Egypt.
The warning to us is clear: when it seems like God is taking a long time to answer a prayer, when it seems that the waiting period is going too long, when it seems like things are just getting too bad, when it seems like there is little hope with the economy, do not be tempted to put your trust in the things which God has given you. Do not turn from trusting in the Giver to trusting in the gifts. Beware of forgetting the character of God, the past faithfulness of God, and the sovereignty of God, for the moment that we forget is the moment that we will be most vulnerable to sin. May we heed the example of Israel of what not to do.