In Sunday School last week we were discussing idols and how we can feel (wrongly) righteous by telling ourselves that these days we’re too smart to worship statues or bushes or bulls. We forget that we simply have a different set of things we worship, maybe our expensive cars, our beautiful houses, our loved ones or our bank account. This is worshiping things that are created instead of the Creator.
A book I just started reading puts it a different, and I think an even better way:
“The first of the Ten Commandments, ‘You shall have not other gods but me,’ designates that there is a power and purpose that gives life. The worship of other gods separates us from what alone gives life. For the Israelites other gods were most often nature gods, local or otherwise, that were believed to have power to insure fertility, prosperity and security. For us, these gods are less likely to be personalized but named impersonally as sex, money and power.
The Christian Moral Life: Practices of Piety by Timothy F. Sedgwick
What popped out for me is that we’re not even worshipping different idols, we’re worshipping the same old ones, under different names! Just like our ancient forbears, we want to feel safe and loved and respected, but we are looking in all the wrong places. Our only hope for those things is in God. He always loves, always provides. He gives true meaning to our lives. Our relationship with Him must come first if we hope to lead a pious life. Of course that leads to my YBH question (yes, but how). How do we learn to put God first when so many other people and things capture our thoughts, dreams and imaginations? That’s a topic for another post.