Material things. Money. Metals. Social Media. Sports. Status. The list could go on, but this past week they all sum up one potential word for many – idol.
If you are living you are engrossed in society, and all of its influences. Society screams more is better. To be the: prettiest, sexiest, smartest, best dressed, highest salary, drive the fastest car, win the most awards, and live in the nicest house. And more.
Our verses this past week in the challenge was:
“Do not make idols for yourselves, set up a carved image or sacred pillar for yourselves, or place a sculpted stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am Yahweh your God. Men! (and women) Why are you doing these things? We are men (and women) also, with the same nature as you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.” Lev.26:1 & Acts 14:15 HCSB
As I focused on our two verses this week the question that arose early on for me was in regards to the first six words:
“Do not make idols for yourselves” Lev. 26:1a
If you are familiar with a famous child’s story by Disney, the line “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall who’s the fairest one of all?” will paint an immediate picture in your mind’s eye of the Queen in Snow White. This week I looked at potential idols in my life, that perhaps take time away from God, or that I put in place of God, in the sense of trying to meet a deep seeded desire. Maybe you have one, or some of these? A desire to:
- Feel accepted
- Have wealth
If we are not careful, all or any of them will lead to gaining the approval of another person over God in our decision making process. This week God turned those first six words around and pointed them inward.
Do not make yourself an idol.
Ouch! Do I do that? Have I done that? Painfully the answer is – yes. How? At times by allowing society to dictate how I am supposed to look. What I am supposed to own, drive, wear, possess.
Please before we continue, don’t miss understand. Having nice things, good bank account, income, job, and status are not bad things. Those are all wonderful blessings God has awarded many, and we are to enjoy them. King Solomon, the wisest and richest ruler ever, says “So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.” Ecc. 8:15 NLT. The Apostle Paul encourages us,
“You say, “I am allowed to do anything”- but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” – but not everything is beneficial.” Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.” 1 Cor.10:23 NLT
We should enjoy what God has given us. And, at the same time not make it an idol. The thing that comes before, or in place of, God.
There was another king that lived, and as his kingdom grew, so did his pride and ego. It grew so much that he did exactly what God said not to do – place a sculpted stone in your land to bow down to it. Lev. 26:1
King Nebuchadnezzar ruled in Babylon, around 605 BC – 562 BC, he had grown so full of himself that he made a gold statute of himself. It stood 90 feet tall, and 9 feet wide, made of pure gold! (Dan. 3:1) He issued a decree that everyone was to bow down to it, and if they did not severe consequences would follow. (Dan. 3) Does this fit the description of – Do not make yourself an idol. We could even say, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fairest one of all?” Disney, Snow White 1937.
In both instances, the Queen was not, nor was king Nebuchadnezzar. If you know the story of Snow White, go ahead and respond with what the mirror said – “Famed is thy beauty, Majesty. But hold, a lovely maid I see. Rags cannot hide her gentle grace. Alas, she is more fair than thee.” Disney. Snow White 1937.
King Nebuchadnezzar did not have a magic mirror, but he did have his idol which relayed the question ”Idol, Idol, in the square, who’s the most powerful of them all?” His idol did not speak back, yet there were three young men whose actions spoke much louder, and higher, than the gold statute: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In fact, their actions spoke so loud that they stood out in all the land, and they faced being thrown into a blazing furnace. (Dn. 3) When faced with an idol, whatever yours may be, like the three young men do your actions reverberate so loud that others take notice? Or do you bow down to the idol in hopes it will bring you the desire you long for?
“The God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the statue you set up.” Dn. 3:15 MSG
God knows that our idols will only leave us tired, broke, empty, and possibly alone. Yet we still chase, and ask our mirrors – who’s the fairest of them all? God tells us:
“that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.” Acts. 14:15b
For me this week I had to, on purpose, tell myself not to get upset over a particular situation. Like the Queen I am not the fairest. Like the king the idols in my life are not to be bowed down to, they are to be destroyed. I am not entitled. Ouch! I used up a whole box of Band-Aids on that one. What about you? This week did you notice any idols? Anything in your life that God may have said, scale it back you are spending way too much time, or money, on it?
“Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content…But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.” Ecc. 1:8 & 17b NLT
Is that what we do – chase the wind? Perhaps. Friends for this past week, as we looked at what possible idols we have in our lives I challenge you to write them down; so that when the temptation arises, and you find yourself mimicking the Queen, or King:
- By saying – “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall who’s the …… (you can fill in your own blank)?
- Or, standing in full view of the 90 feet high, and 9 feet wide, idol made of (you can fill in your own idol substance).
We will recognize it, and instead echo the words of the Apostle Paul:
“Sacrifices offered to idols are offered to nothing, for what’s the idol but a nothing? Or worse than a nothing, a minus, a demon!” 1 Cor. 10:19 MSG
In the end, the Queen and King were reduced to nothing by their idols. What they erected ended up giving way to their demise. As will all idols. With our idols revealed may we strive to – turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.” Acts 14:15b HCSB
And, as we look into our mirrors may we say, “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall. Is God first place in my life over all?”
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*Pictures by worldpropertyjournal, fengusheitips, happycow