Friday, February 19, 2016

Babylonian Idol

(by Pastor Joe)
The word for today: Habakkuk 3:1-15
mark this: Habakkuk 2:18-20
There are lots of false gods out there.
Man is an incurably religious being; if you can think of "it", chances are that "it" has been deified one time or another. (In India alone, they have over 100,000,000 gods and goddesses). Every nation has seemed to have there deities- even the atheistic Soviets tried to "hallow" the bones of Lenin.
That was also true of the nations that surrounded the people of Israel. We are familiar with the Egyptian and Greek and Roman pantheon. The Philistines worshipped Dagon, the Ammorites worshipped Molech, the Moabites worshiped Chemosh. But the real problem occurred when God's people decided to turn their collective back on God and worship the idols of the nations.
That happened repeatedly in Israel's history, from the golden calf incident (Exodus 32),throughout the time of the judges, and kings, until Israel was dispersed and Judah was taken into captivity. Most of the prophets sent by God were to warn His people concerning their spiritual adultery with idols.
Why? What was the allure of idols for God's people?
First of all, because it helped them "fit in" and be like the rest of the nations. Despite being called out as God's particular people (Deuteronomy 7:6), it seemed much easier to conform to the standards of the heathen people around them. In matters of leadership (1 Sam. 8:5), customs (2 Kings 17:30) and worship, Israel tended to dumb themselves down to the level of their neighbors. They even ended up worshiping local false gods such as Baal and Asherah (2 Kings 17:16). But seeing as how Baal and Asherah were gods of sex and fertility and prosperity, its easy to see why they were so popular.
Idols, by design, are very convenient to the non-discriminating worshiper. Instead of relating to the Indescribable God, one can have simple and tangible interactions with an inanimate object. There is no faith required, no trust and no real relationship. It's always been easier to do "religious things" and think "religious thoughts" when you have a golden calf or an Asherah Pole present.
Ultimately, idols are about control. Instead of having to listen to and obey an all-knowing God, an idol puts you in the driver's seat. An idol makes no demands on your life or behavior, it cannot judge you or rebuke you. Like the words found in Habakkuk, an idol is by nature, mute.
Okay- idols are bad. We get it. But how do we know what idolatry looks like today?
To see what kinds of false gods we worship, I offer you the titles found at the nearest magazine rack:
Self, Shape, Car & Driver, Money, Fortune,
Entertainment, TV Guide, Star, Men's Health,
Allure, Glamour, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated,
Wired, Game Pro, etc.
Our high priestesses are Oprah and Ellen. Our ever-changing pantheon is made up the latest celebrities. Our act of worship is to read Us Weekly or People or to watch TMZ or Entertainment Tonight.
Why? What is the allure of idols for God's people? The same ones that plagued Israel and all of humanity:
Following God is difficult. It means that we will often stick out like sore thumbs in a world that can care less about Him. It means that we will have to trust and relate to the Living God, and not any man-made substitute. It means we must submit our lives and choices to Him, rather than being our own gods. In short, we want ease, total autonomy, and to always fit in; and to follow God means that each of those areas will be threatened.
Never forget that everyone worships and serves something or somebody. The Christian. The pagan. The atheist. The agnostic. There is no neutrality. Everyday, we again are faced with this decision: whom will I serve? Jesus Christ or idols? The One who gave His all for you and demands all of you, or something that has done nothing for you and demands nothing from you. What is your choice today?
Will you trust in lifeless "idols that cannot speak," or will you recognize that "the LORD is in his holy temple..." and therefore "be silent before him?"  (Habakkuk 2:20)

No comments:

Post a Comment