Monday, August 07, 2017

Keeping the idols

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Genesis 35:1-21

“So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.” Genesis 35:4

There is something that doesn’t feel quite wholesome about the way Jacob dealt with these foreign god idols. As the writer of my Bible’s notes points out;

“… yet the ‘foreign gods’ were hidden beneath a carefully identified ‘terebinth tree.’ Thus paganism remained deeply rooted in their hearts.” R. Russell Bixler New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 52.

Aren’t we sometimes guilty of the same thing, though? We trust God yet secretly hang onto things that fill some need or help us get by on our own: old letters, emails, or text messages that feed our outrage and keep us from forgiveness, those “how to” books, blog subscriptions, or articles that are full of advice on living life by our own wits, lists of contacts to call when we need outside help, lottery tickets, a glimpse at the day’s horoscope…

Or what about the more subtle “good” idols we serve. In her book Embracing Your Second Calling, Dale Hanson Bourke alerts us to them in a quote from a Tim Keller modern-day idolatry identification worksheet:

Approval idolatry: ‘Life only has meaning / I only have worth if I am loved and respected by …’ 
Control idolatry: ‘Life only has meaning / I only have worth if I am able to get mastery over my life in the area of …’ 
Helping idolatry: ‘Life only has meaning / I only have worth if people are dependent on me.’ 
Work idolatry: ‘Life only has meaning / I only have worth if I am highly productive and get a lot done.’ 
Achievement idolatry” ‘Life only has meaning / I only have worth if I am being recognized for my accomplishments / excelling in my career’” - Tim Keller, quoted in Embracing Your Second Calling, p. 90,91.

I ask myself, what idols am I secretly keeping and serving? What about you?

And how foolish to think that God doesn’t know:

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.- Psalm 139:11,12

Jesus: “ 'For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.’” Luke 12:2

Dear Father, please help me to recognize and destroy any and all idols in my life. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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