Welcome to the Idol Factory!
“…this is American Idol!”
The music is bumping and the lights are shining. The singers take the stage and belt out an amazing performance. The crowd is screaming and clapping.
“…and now our next President!”
The music is bumping and the lights are shining. The politician takes the stage and the crowd is screaming and clapping.
“…your 2018 Sports Team!”
The music is bumping and the lights are shining. The team takes the stage and the crowd is screaming and clapping.
As I read through the Bible it continues to strike me that the people of God are easily attracted to idols. Every other page, it seems, there they go worshiping the Baals and the Asherah poles. It’s a never ending cycle. Round and round they go. For a moment they are worshiping the God who saved them from oppression and slavery only to find themselves drawn again to the Baals and Asherah poles.
I think that we often look at these stories with disbelief. We think to ourselves, “What is wrong with these people? How can they leave God so easily? Seriously, what is their deal?” Then we turn our hearts and attention to our musicians, politicians, or sports teams (not to mention our families or friends).
It is interesting isn’t it? We see in the people of the Bible such brokenness but we don’t see it in ourselves. We might not worship the Baal or Asherah poles any more but we sure do worship many other idols.
I think it’s because there is an instant gratification that can be experienced when we worship something other than God. The reason? Because ultimately what we are worshiping in those moments are ourselves. They are ultimately our very own creations. It is easy to worship our creations. They give us something we desperately want, power and control.
When we worship God it requires us to give of ourselves. If God is not a self-creation and if God is truly transcendent then our worship will be sacrificial. It will cost us something.
In our current cultural milieu we think that when we go to worship we should “get something out of it.” Should we? I am not so certain. Worship it seems is something we give.
I often hear people say, “I need church to help me get through the week.” Or the cheesy, “We all need a dose of Vitamin JC.”
What if living life throughout the week was designed to bring us to a place where we could worship? Stay with me here. What if we are to engage in spiritual practices like reading Scripture, prayer, service, and the rest so that when we come to worship we have something to offer?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. — Romans 12:1
Could it be that this is what Paul is calling for here?
Yet, the idol factory is open and it is winning.
If I am honest, my heart is easily drawn to things that I have created. My worship, my “living sacrifice,” is given over to my sports teams and my family. I fear that when I stand before God he will call me to account for my idol worship. I see the same cycle in my own life as I see in the stories of the Scriptures, idolatry turns to exile turns to repentance turns to reconciliation.
How about you? Is the idol factory open and is it winning?