Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chucking Your Idols

Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast.  --Isaiah 46:1 (KJV)

Idols are a big deal.  They rank second in the list of Ten Commandments.  A golden calf made from collected jewelry after their hasty departure from Egypt earned a generation of the Hebrew children 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.  Here in Isaiah, God's word to the people about their idols is more of an expressed sincere disappointment than a punishment.  Bel and Nebo have collected so many idols that they need a farm menagerie on which to carry them all.  One belief then amongst "ignorant ones" of faith was the more idols you had the safer you were.  The Jewish folks weren't above having one or two "for insurance," "just in case" God didn't "work out."

In 21st century America we probably don't think too much about idols - unless you're glued to your TV each week to see American Idol.  How crazy is that?  The suggestion that we could have a talented person that we looked up to so much that they replaced God...? That is what an idol is.  It's something/some person that you hold in such high regard that God is immaterial and unimportant.  What idols do you have - what things do you own that possess you -- things so important that you think you'd DIE without them?  What things/people in your life do you struggle with imagining giving over to God, were God to ask for them?

Isaiah 46 is a tender chapter and I'd recommend reading it if someone or something has an overwhelming hold upon you.  (Click here to go to it.)  God makes a sound case for not weighing yourself down with idols when God is far more available and capable of caring for you than a bunch of wood, stone, metal, or even flesh and blood.  Idols have sneaky ways of getting inside us and taking over our hearts often before we are even aware, sometimes even when we don't want them to be there.  Isaiah 46 is a sweet reminder that God, though jealous, is also understanding and knows why we misplace our trust in the tangible.  In spite of straying, God keeps hold tightly of the covenant to hold onto us tightly.  It is a gracious and glorious Maker who takes us and keeps us into the Everlasting.

Forgive us O God when we stray with our trust, giving it over to the things we create and control for our own security.  Release us from our dependency on these less than capable objects and help us surrender our whole being to You.  In and through Christ we pray.  Amen.  

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