May 2, 2021
What Makes an Idol?
Question of the Week
To a people caught up in idolatry, God asks this question: “To whom can you compare and liken me? Tell me whom you think I resemble, so we can be compared!” Take time throughout this week to consider this question as if it were being asked to you.
As a young kid, I was really into playing “war” as we called it. I lived in a neighborhood full of other kids so we had some days long epic battles. We’d all grab our toy guns, split into sides and the rapid “Bah-dah-dah-dah” of mouth made machine gun sounds would commence. Of course there were major style points for how dramatic you could be when you were “shot” and often heated arguments over who shot whom first and who would have to “play dead” for the appropriate time before rejoining the battle. Suffice it to say there were no real casualties, other than scraps and bruises from diving for cover.
It was all fun and games because it wasn’t actually war. The guns were fake. We weren't real soldiers. There was no real enemy or threat. It was all “make believe".
But we know it often doesn’t stop there, does it? If we carry on with that imagination, as we are want to do as humans, the toys become more realistic looking until they are replaced with the real thing. The choosing of sides becomes more and more critical until it becomes permanent. The fake deaths turn into real deaths.
Now hear me out. This is not a polemic against kids having make believe battles, but it is a sober reminder for us to stop and consider what happens when we lose sight of who we really are, who others really are, and what is going on in the first place.
Because when we don’t, the consequences can be deadly, as we’ll see in our text this week.
Grace and peace y’all,
J. Ray and the teaching team
The Big Idea: Creating idols springs in part from a failure to deeply consider the meaning of our own createdness.
Take Away: Making idols or all shapes and sizes, recognized and unrecognized, happens as a natural result of failing to deeply understand our own createdness and how that createdness binds us to our Creator in very specific ways.
How does this fit with "Belong, Become, Believe"?
Understanding that each of us in created by God, in the image of God, and for the glory of God leads us to extend hospitality, a place at the table to everyone. Living into our “createdness” also gives form to our becoming, our further and ongoing formation more and more to reflect the image of God we are created in. The confession that we are in fact created, not creator, worshipers of the true God and not the idols that we create forms our faith.
The people of Israel lived in a time when idols were everywhere and the temptation to create them pervasive.