I was reading the Bible with my husband the other night and I got so frustrated. We're working our way through the one year Bible plan and we're in the Old Testament reading about the Israelites. I am shocked at the amount of times they turn from God and start worshiping idols. You would think these people who have seen miracles with their own eyes would get a clue. Then I got to thinking about it, and in actuality it's hundreds of years passing since the Israelites first left Egypt. They probably just get to hear about the miracles from their parents and grandparents.
Still, they must witness some kind of miracle in their lifetime, and they worship idols. I mean, come on, IDOLS? To me that seems like spitting in God's face. Then some catastrophe happens and they cry out to God, HELP. He fixes it, and then they turn their back on Him again. Repeatedly this happens. I remarked to Titus, you'd think God would get a clue here. Why does He help them, when they're going to eventually reject Him? He's only a matter of convenience for them... or so it seems. Why does God put up with it?
As I was angry with them for turning to idols once again, I read the words of Samuel to the people and it finally made sense to me, "Don't be fearful. It's true that you have done something very wrong. All the same, don't turn your back on God. Worship and serve him heart and soul! Don't chase after ghost-gods. There's nothing to them. They can't help you. They're nothing but ghost-gods! God, simply because of who he is, is not going to walk off and leave his people. God took delight in making you into his very own people." 1 Samuel 12: 20-22 (The Message)
Remember that judgmental attitude I struggle with, here it comes. I was judging them for their idols, when I have idols of my own. I am exactly like them. My idols may not be bronze or golden statues, but they are idols just the same.
I have erected an idol of friendship. I continually thank God for all that He has done in my life, and then I turn around and seek adoration from my friends instead of Him. He wants to be my fulfillment, yet I seek to fulfill myself with people who will inevitably fail me. I find myself blindly following a friend, wanting their approval so badly. And I am crushed when I don't get it in the way that I think is necessary. It's become an idol with the face of my girlfriend.
To me, church is about challenge. It's seeing a standard, and showing me guidelines that I can follow. It's not about always doing the right thing, but it is about having the right heart attitude. I daily know that I am falling short of what God intended for my life. It's not a once a week thing, or once a month, it's literally day after day. I know I am not the person I am supposed to be. That's hard to take in. I want to be perfect and always do the right thing. Impossible, right? With God, I'm possible. God is the factor in the equation that makes the difference.
These are only two of the idols I have built. There's a lot more that enter into my life on occasions. Children. Family. Money. Stats. Me. I live in a world where it's so easy to take the focus off of God and put it on me. Whatever I am feeling at the moment becomes the thing I obsess over. I worship it until it controls me, and I must cry out to God. HELP!
Maybe we're the same way as those Israelites. We take our eyes off of God, put it on the problem, and up goes the idol. We need to have something tangible take His place. We need our friends to be our god. Then we realize the error of our ways, and we go crawling back to God. HELP! I need you to fix this problem. It's not workin' for me. And the really great thing is, He listens. He doesn't do the natural human reaction. You got yourself in this mess, you fix it. No. When we call on Him, He literally runs to our aid.
Don't chase after ghost-gods! They don't work. They leave you unhappy, frustrated, confused, and angry. God is the only one who can meet your needs. It may appear like the ghost-gods are working for you, but it's all an illusion. Sooner or later, it will come crashing down and you will be on your knees crying out for the true God. And He will be faithful to answer you every time.