When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you!
The wind will carry them all off,
a breath will take them away.
But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land
and shall inherit my holy mountain. Isaiah 57:13
Throughout the Old Testament, one of the things God’s people are warned to avoid, over and over, is the sin of idolatry. It comes in at number two on the top ten list (see Exodus 20). It is the defining characteristic that determined whether the kings of the divided kingdom were good or bad. It was the reason given for the exile of Israel to Assyria (2 Kings 17).
Images of stone, wood, and metal are not the temptation for us in the post-modern world that they were for the ancients. But our love for God still has ample competition. Measuring what you love by how your spend your time can reveal some important truths about us.
- How much time do you spend at your place of work? If you are routinely there past when everyone else has left and look forward to how you will be appreciated for your diligence, you may have identified your idol.
- How much time do you spend planning your meals? If you schedule your weekends and vacations about what and where you hope to eat, you should consider whether that is your idol.
- How much time do you like to be entertained? If you would really prefer to be left alone with your television shows or favorite streaming service on a regular basis, you should probably think of that as an idol.
- Some of us have more than one. That was not unusual in ancient times either.
So why does God continuously forbid His people to worship idols? Should we be worried about this?
One important characteristic of idols highlighted in our text for today is – they don’t love you back. You can pour your time and devotion on them to the point of death but they will never return your affection.
- At your workplace, there is likely already someone who is eager to take your position after you are no longer able to work there.
- Those who sell us our daily bread will quickly lose interest in us if we fail to patronize them. (By “quickly” I mean immediately. Try showing up at your favorite restaurant without any money.)
- The entertainments that capture our attention know us as “downloads”, “eyeballs”, or at best “subscribers” and they have no interest in knowing more.
The Lord, on the other hand, offers a completely different relationship. We safely love Him because He loved us first. He has plans for relating to us at levels we can’t imagine as we come to know Him better. This week, set aside your idol and focus on the One that is already focused on you.