This being Part 2 of “Playing Church.”
As we return to take a second look at people “Playing Church,” I call your attention to the fact that, despite all their pretense about worshipping God, the Israelites were really idol worshippers. We were looking at Amos, chapter 5 when we last blogged together. Verse 26 reads this way:
"You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god —which you made for yourselves."
Anyone who has ever tried to translate this verse from Hebrew knows it is really a problematic verse. But what is not a problem is understanding that the verse declares Israel to be guilty of idol worship. Idol worship can be defined as “allowing anything to replace God as the constant focus of your attention.”
Israel elevated men – their own kings to a position of worship. They even worshipped other nations’ kings. Healthy respect for kings, queens, other leaders is Biblical. But respect & honor are a far cry from worship. Foolishness like the worship of President George W. Bush that was splashed all over the news last week in the videos from “Jesus Camp,” is contrary to Biblical teaching. As humans we sometimes seek someone to worship. We elevate Rock stars; athletes; actors & actresses? Respect, even love, for these people may not be inappropriate. But the question we always need to ask is “have they replaced God?”
Israel not only worshipped men, they also worshipped material goods. They worshipped the things they made with their hands. The parallels with our own times are endless: money; comfort; power; sex have become gods of our age. How about the lottery?
Our cars, our libraries, even our children can become idols for us. Most are fine in moderation. What we’re talking about is obsession; leaving no room for God, God’s children, God’s work, God’s Word, prayer.
When God gets shut out what we have is idolatry. We ALL need to take heed!