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Location: Huaraz, Ancash, Peru

Having mastered the University of Montana's IYFD program, I journeyed to Peru with the US Peace Corps. Currently, I'm discovering Peru while living in the gorgeous Andes mountains in beautiful Ancash. Come visit!

Monday, April 04, 2005

American Idols

"You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Deuteronomy 5:8-10

I’ve been studying the book of Deuteronomy lately (out of some crazy desire to read the Pentateuch backwards), and I’m amazed at how much Moses dedicates to the discussion of idols. Like a lawyer laying out his case Moses uses every line of reasoning to denote the practice of idolatry. And he has cause to be concerned. Moses spends an amazing time with God on Mount Sinai receives the 10 Commandments (which includes the above scripture) and upon his return he finds the Israelites worshipping a Golden Calf which they themselves have made. Not a great track record.

Yet, I find it hard to condemn the Israelites because I, like them, have created idols. Now I have never built an idol in the physical realm, but I have constructed quite a few in the spiritual realm. When I look at the Deuteronomy passage I notice that God says don’t “make yourself an idol in the form of anything.” Lately, I’ve been amazed at all of the lies the enemy uses to build up a museum of idols in my life. My idols could include, but are not limited to, fame, beauty, knowledge, wealth, etc. I think about all the lies I believe about success and the “American Dream” and realize that it creates fantasies in my heart that are not Christ-centered. That is an idol.

“Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing?” Isaiah 44:10

Of course there are plenty of references to idols and idolatry in the Bible, but I thought this verse in Isaiah 44 makes a good point. What profit comes from an idol? Nothing…there is a zero return on all idol investments. You do not pass go, you do not collect 200 dollars. You just continue to live the lie, unaware of how much time and heart you are losing that could be God’s.

The Bible makes it pretty clear what sinful nature includes:

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:19-21

This is a tough verse, but God never ends with the tough stuff. He always gives us the good to help:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24


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