Tag Archives: Idol Worship

Who Do We Serve?

Living in the Spirit
November 6, 2017

Scripture Reading: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

‘Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’

 Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.’ –Joshua 24:14-18

We, of course, are far too sophisticated to worship idols, graven images; or are we?  Cities are passing laws to make it illegal to cross a street while texting or otherwise accessing an electronic device. An opioid epidemic is killing people of all ages across our land. Greed is rampant as we want more and more and seem never to be satisfied. Gaining power over others entices many to sell their souls to the highest bidder.

We are called to Choose this day whom [we] will serve and get our priorities in order as individuals, as communities of faith, as the whole Body of Christ.

As frustrated as I become with the functioning of our government both at the state and federal level, I sincerely believe our government reflects well the desires of our population. We have turned away from our most basic values of assuring the Common Good and are pursuing self-serving gain at the expense of our neighbors. We seem to have grown collectively out of touch with reality apparently similarly to what was happening in Joshua’s day and time.

Joshua’s recommitment to the values that got him and his people to the Promised Land is a good place for us to start rebuilding our states and nation.

Prayer: Create in us clean hearts and right spirits so that we can truly declare but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord, for he is God. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.

No gods at all?

Dust bowl 2Living in the Spirit
August 23, 2016

Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 2:4-13

Has a nation changed its gods,
   even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
   for something that does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
   be shocked, be utterly desolate,  

says the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
   they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living water,
   and dug out cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns
   that can hold no water. –Jeremiah 2:11-13

Have we traded in God for other gods which mean for no god at all? Jeremiah is not only condemning the people for changing gods but trading God, the source of living water, for a god they created that could not hold water at all.

The Dust Bowl in the Great Plains during the 1930’s was to a great extent created by humans. Plowing every inch of available ground in flat, straight rows for grain planting with no concern for the top soil resulted in disaster. Greed is often the idol that we humans replace for God. Oklahoma is a windy state at any time. The relentless wind coupled with no rain for days on end caused the earth to became dryer than dry resulting in precious, necessary topsoil blowing away. We learned from that mistake and in the recovery introduced new and better methods of plowing.

It is sad that we cannot take what we learn from one experience and apply it to similar ones. We do not even retain lessons learned if enough time has elapsed. The prophets of the Hebrew Bible warned the Israelites of coming disaster as the result of their misdirected choices of gods. They did not apply them any better in their time than we do today when we know the disaster that came when the Israelites ignored the prophets.

Following the oil bust of the 1980’s Oklahoma’s economy had to be diversified and proper funding for necessary governmental services allocated and steps were taken to do just that. Now we find ourselves in the same or worse situation because we revoked many of those steps that set our state on stable footing. While the current downturn would have still been challenging, it did not have to become a disaster that will take years to overcome.

Prayer: God forgive us when we create gods of our own making and turn away from you. In our repentance, guide us to your way. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.

Parenting 101

Moloch-and-His-Minions-e1460383254356Living in the Spirit
July 25, 2016

Scripture Reading: Hosea 11:1-11

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
   and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
   the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
   and offering incense to idols. –Hosea 11:1-2

All children age-appropriately test and try the wisdom they receive from their parents. It is how they grow and mature into strong, healthy adults. “Don’t touch; it’s hot” is a truth learned very quickly when a toddler’s hand just cannot resist the grill guarding a fire. Score one for the wisdom of parents.

My mother grew up in an age when a deck of playing cards was the devil’s handiwork. We never had such a deck in our home. When my brother, sister, and I were teenagers visiting friends, we routinely played spades and hearts without an iota of guilt. The inherent problems of gambling stuck, cast in the math of chance and better uses for hard earned money. Mom was a math teacher. Cultures change; God does not. There is always give and take as children grow into adults each as unique beings. We would want it no other way. Hopefully, all journeys toward adulthood are undergirded by loving parents who make the tough trip easier.

In the scripture today, Hosea describes God in the role of a loving parent who saved the people from oppression, gave them a way of being beyond the only things they knew–slavery, and traveled with them every step they took toward the promised land. Somewhere beyond their rescue, the people grew restless wanting to touch the grill and not get burned, and if God could not protect them, they would find a god that would. They turned their back on God’s wisdom and God’s love.

While God’s love never diminishes, the Lord grants us the freedom to follow God’s way and to accept the consequences of our decisions and actions. As we face the challenges and fears of our world today, we need to hold on more tightly than ever to God’s wisdom and not waste our time searching for other gods whose motivation is not love.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we hunt for other gods willing to allow us to live in danger’s way. Remind us of the wisdom of your loving ways. Amen.

All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized 
Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council 
of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights 
reserved.