Verse 12: “They forsook the Lord, their fathers’ God who had brought them out of Egypt, and went after other gods, gods of the races among whom they lived; they bowed before them and provoked the Lord to anger.”
The wanderings of the Israelites from faithful to wayward servants of God are the theme of many Old Testament stories. In spite of the freedom given from bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were attracted to and swayed by the “gods of the races among whom they lived.”
Considered symbolically, this story depicts our struggle to live based on the authority of the Self/God Within. We know the freedom of living in sync with the Self, but what’s around us seduces us onto other paths.
We feel a sense of freedom, an aliveness, in following Self/God Within, yet we will seek other “gods” to fit in with people. We are sidetracked by the desire to follow the crowd, to be like others, or to not upset the people around us. We engage in behaviors, conversations, and internal dialogues that are not the larger truth of who we are. All the while, we know we are abandoning ourselves.
Our perceptions and experiences remind us of who we are and the voice of the Self. Yet, we give our time, attention, energy, and loyalty to other gods. The other gods are countless. Whenever we follow a principle, idea, or action not in alignment with the Self/God Within, we are bowing before another god. A family member, an employer, a coworker, the church, schools, or government may be the voice of the god. The outcome is always the same. The Self is provoked to anger.
I believe the anger of the Self is expressed in the situation and outcome that evolves from our choice to follow other gods. The loss of the freedom of Self and its positive states of consciousness (safety, love and belonging, self-esteem) is the natural angry response of our psyche/soul to being betrayed by our egos. We all know the pain of making choices counter to the inner wisdom voice of the Self.
Reflect for a moment on times in your life when you have followed a path that was not the direction of your Self/God Within. What were the triggers or hooks for doing so? Where is this happening now? Ask the Self/God Within to strengthen your inner knowing of who you are and who your soul is prompting you to become. Open to see your path and to claim the courage and energy to live accordingly.