Thursday, June 30, 2011

Idolatry 2

Idolatry:  the belief that some idea, person, accomplishment, circumstance, institution, etc. is more reliable and more able to bring me to a place of joy and rest - AKA: is more trustworthy than - the character, word and person of Christ.

How ridiculous is that?!  As Christians, we know and feel the absurdity of that statement, and yet we often live our lives subtly placing our trust in someone or something other than Christ.

Isaiah (ch. 44) tells the story of a man who ventures into the woods with tools he has made himself and cuts down a tree.  In the process of doing so, his brow sweats (hmmm...), and he becomes weary and thirsty because he himself is a mere creature.  He hauls the tree home.  From one section he chops wood for a fire by which he can warm himself and cook his food.  He takes another section of the tree and carves a beautiful image before whom he falls down and prays, "Deliver me, for thou art my god!" 

We rightly scoff and laugh at this man's absurdity!  He cries out for deliverance from something he has made with his own hands!  He falls down before a block of wood!   Jeremiah (ch. 10) mockingly compares these idols to a scarecrow in a cucumber field!  They can't walk...they have to be carried!  They can't see or speak or hear or DO anything!  

Psalm 115 also mocks these worthless idols who are blind, deaf, lame and dumb.  And...the Psalmist tells us...those who make and worship these idols, will become like them!

Our own idolatries - even though we don't literally carve an image and beg it to save us - are as futile and ridiculous as the man's in Isaiah!  We creatures take good gifts, which have been created for us and distributed to us by the True God, and we fashion them with our own hands (or minds) into something we hope will save us...that is, deliver us from trouble and bring us to a place of joy and rest.  As a result,  we become as empty and worthless as the image in which we trust.

But there is hope for us!  Just as Jesus Christ came into the idol-laden culture of Israel and exposed their idolatry, so He can expose ours as well!  How did He expose them?  Israel had become like the idols they worshipped: blind, deaf, dumb and lame, so He came into their midst and began restoring their eyes, ears, limbs and mouths.    

In the same way, He can enter our lives with power to expose, heal and restore us from our idolatries.  May we, by faith, welcome Him...even follow hard after Him, seeking to merely touch the hem of His garment if only He will make us whole.

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