Friday, November 17, 2006

On the relative merit of your idol

Isaiah 44:9 (NIV): "All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame." (TM)

Super heavy, a real condemnation, which is to say: in this verse, God has taken the gloves off. He's laying down the law with little regard for what kind of impact it makes, or maybe that's exactly what he's doing. It's a very straight-up kind of statement.

"All who make idols are nothing" ties your very existence to him, which is only appropriate, given that he created us. And so our very existence is tied to our relationship to him in proper context. What is idol making if not the act of put something else ahead of God in our lives? And when you do that, presto, you fade out shockingly fast, just like the weekly victim on Without a Trace.

Now, for blissy types or those simply in desperate need of a good night's sleep, that might sound okay, but don't kid yourself. Bliss requires a presence, sleep is something you sink into, and what God describes here provides a platform for neither of those occupations, or anything else at all, for that matter. No matter how spacey you might be, you do want to be present for all of life's little joys. Replacing big G God with some little g god just takes yourself off the table, out of play, nowhere.

Then he says, "and the things they treasure are worthless." Which means that making an idol of something is of no point whatsoever. It means that if you catch yourself making an idol, you shouldn't only stop it, but now you need to reevaluate everything. How have my values changed such that I would be making an idol?

Because repentance is an actual turning away from prior activity, identifying root causes might be a useful tactic. This is a Spirit-lead activity. We shouldn't rely only on our own perspective to unpack our sin. Our perspective lead us into the sin in the first place. So lean on the Lord, not your understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) (TM)

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