But I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.
These words were meant to encourage Israel to reconsider the exclusive relationship the nation had with God. He had rescued them out of bondage in Egypt. He had entered into a unique covenant with them. He had been their only God and Savior. They had committed to Him exclusively. This was summarized best in the first of the Ten Commandments: "You shall have no other gods before me."
But the context of this verse makes it clear that they were disobeying that first commandment. They had forgotten God their Savior. They were worshiping Baal. And God's indictment of their evil idolatry is stern: "It is said of them, 'Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves!'" The ludicrous logic of idolatry angered God and decayed and destroyed lives. Israelites were offering their own children in sacrifice to Baal, even as they kissed their calf idols in false worship. It was a sick spirituality centered on sin.
We really love our idols. And is it any different today? How many lives are destroyed for the idol of selfish pursuit and pleasure? Hedonism and the idol of self dominate Western culture. Families are sacrificed for the sake of personal preference and convenience. Homes are destroyed in the worship of pleasure. People are treated with disdain and disrespect for the sake of scientific progress. People feel a sense of purposelessness without God. Idols still exist. We just kiss a more technologically and scientifically advanced golden calf these days.