Friday, August 24, 2012
Welcome to Day 236 of our Life Journal!
Before you comment or read what I have posted, please read the following passages for yourself and complete your own S.O.A.P. exercise… How does this work?
S.O.A.P = Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Jeremiah 33:3, “This is what the Lord says…” “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
5 ‘They [the houses and royal palaces] will be filled with the dead bodies of the men I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness. 6 “‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”
14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. 15 “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.'”
Jeremiah 34:17, “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine.” (The most sarcastic prophecy ever?)
Psalm 74:1, “Why have you rejected us forever, O God? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture? 2 Remember the people you purchased of old, the tribe of your inheritance, whom you redeemed…”
1 John 5:21, “Dear children [“friends/brothers], keep yourselves from idols.”
What an interesting way to end a letter/epistle… “Keep yourselves from idols.”
Exodus 20:2, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.”
This is a recurring topic throughout scripture, and certainly in this blog. This is the first of the Ten Commandments…
Interesting that John (it is commonly held that the Apostle John, who wrote the Gospel of John wrote 1 John, although the author is not identified within the context of the letter.) ends his epistle with “Keep yourselves from idols.”
Must have still been a struggle. It’s the only thing that makes sense… It’s like his one, final piece of advice. Almost a “by the way…” or “one last thing…”
Romans addresses similar topics in chapter 14 about eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols.
Most major cities (Rome, Ephesus, Athens) still offered many opportunities to worship idols.
If one thing is abundantly clear throughout scripture, God really doesn’t like idol worship. This one issue seems to really tweak him more than anything else.
Funny, in our culture, it seems so irrelevant… and people (especially pastors) love to make other “gods” a broader scope, including houses, cars and labels. Anything we put as more important that God himself.
And I get that, I do… but this is very specific… God is saying we should have no other “gods” before him… and to make no “graven images.”
This is clearly speaking of the gods of Egypt and other cultures. Baal, being one of the most prominent gods mentioned over and over. Molech, Astoreth, and there are plenty of others.
Having wrong priorities and focus, considering other things as more important is a different issue. And it’s very real… but it’s not idol worship. When the Bible speaks of having no other gods, it means what it says… gods are gods. They have a name… and people actually worship them. People make idols or “graven images” and bow down in worship to them.
Eventually, we will get to the book of Daniel, when he, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are faced with a decision… to bow down to the huge idol that Nebuchadnezzar had fashioned.
The application question is really, “What do I bow down to?” “In what or who am putting my trust?”
(I love when the Bible says, “Why don’t you call out to those worthless idol you carved to save you?”)
It is possible to put my trust in my bank account or my own efforts…
But that’s not idol worship. That’s a different issue altogether.
Lord, I will never bow down to any other god. I will put my trust in you and you alone! I will trust you to provide for all my needs. I will call out to you and worship only you!