THE GOD AMONG THE IDOLS
Several years ago, I read a book called, gods at war, by Kyle Idleman and it struck me hard. It was a book discussing and revealing the idols that we have allowed in our lives to war with God. We believe they will somehow provide the deliverance that only God can give, so we give them a god-like role in our lives. It is a practice that infects our view of the Lord and what he can do. He becomes just another god on the shelf that we pull down in times of need.
In Acts 17 we see Paul stand up in a meeting to the men of Athens. He tells them that he sees they are rather religious; they have many gods. In fact, they even have an altar devoted to an “Unknown god”, just in case they missed one. These men of Athens have made their life of worship severely complicated in order to make their lives seemingly more convenient. When in need of more wheat, they pray to the god of harvest, when they need children, they pray to the god of fertility, when they need good weather, they pray to the god of the sun. And at times of true desperation, in times when deliverance is needed, perhaps they will turn to the true God. Isn’t that exactly what Israel did? Israel would spend their days worshipping anything they believed would deliver except the true God. However when difficult times arose, they knew exactly where to turn. God became just another god of convenience.
I am afraid that even today, we are not that different. I know I have been in my own life. When resistance of any sort came into my life, I was quick to turn to what I believed would bring deliverance from it. I used relationships to be my source of comfort, I used money to be my source of relief, I used food to be my source of fulfillment, and I used things to be my source of happiness. When difficult times comes, it is too easy to seek relief from things that we can touch, see, and feel. The truth is we like things that give us a sense of control. Whatever we can physically hold on to is what we cling to.
Isaiah makes it very clear that the idols we all turn to are worthless. They provide nothing, deliver nothing, and can save nothing. He says in Isaiah 44:19-20, “No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, ‘Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?’ He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him. He cannot save himself, or say, ‘Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?'”
The very things we use to deliver us are the very things that imprison us. They are lies that will never bring hope; they will never bring life, yet we cling to them so tightly. However, Isaiah 40:28-30 says, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. ” While idols are only lies that produce nothing, God is truth and provides strength, power, and renewal. He acts. He restores. He delivers.
We must be careful to not place God on a shelf with all of the other idols we go to for convenience. Let us make sure He is the ONLY one we turn to in the good and the bad, for He is the only one who acts.