Ponderings for June 28 2017

We are steaming toward Sunday where we will grapple with the Lord’s words regarding “no gods before him,” and the entertaining of idols.

Here are two sides of the same coin:

On the one side, we are warned against thinking about God in ways that are incorrect and unworthy of him. It is easy to do. It didn’t take long for the original audience of the 10 Commandments to turn their image of God into a golden calf! It is also easy to do in our American, consumeristic context. Though maybe not a metal cow, my God easily becomes one who exists to meet my needs, makes me feel good about myself and takes care of all my pains and problems, not unlike the hospital nurse who comes running when I put my light on. What a diluting of God’s holiness and greatness! A simple study of the Scriptures (maybe start with Isaiah) would go a long way toward guarding against this.

The other side of this coin cautions me about replacing my trust in and loyalty to the Lord with anything (be it my job, sports, my country, my money or even my family). That subtle exchange is at the very heart of idolatry.  From the very start, God warned his people about putting their ultimate trust in the power of their armies or the wisdom of their leaders or the gold in their pockets. I must be really careful of this. We all do! I have known very nice people who have made false gods out of otherwise very good things (e.g. a system of theology, a political position, an investment portfolio, patriotism, even their own kids). By the way, it is much easier to see other people’s idols than it is to see our own.

The words of the aging Apostle John are as apropos today as they were in the first century, “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.  Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  Amen.”

Pastor Paul