So, yesterday there was a pretty cool little Apple event introducing a revamped line of iPod products and some software updates for said products. Being a total Mac guy (though admittedly I am posting this on a Dell right now) I watched as three separate blogs posted real-time updates of the event. Now, I know what some of you are thinking, “seriously?” Yes, seriously. Oh, but it gets worse.
Later that evening after the event was over, I plopped down on the ol’ couch and watched the event on my laptop. And, wonderful wife that she is, Julie watched along too. As she was watching she said, “It’s weird to me that this isn’t a Christian thing.” The way she said it, I knew what she meant. She meant that, with the stage, the lighting, the touting of the exploits of “the greatest portable music device in the world”, and even the music at the end provided by Jack Johnson, it seemed very much like a worship service. I’ll admit too that I wait for these sorts of events, and watched in technological wonderment as the new features are described in glorious detail. It makes you want to jump up and sing!
So scary, right?
Here’s the thing: there is a line between healthy admiration and idol worship. And if we are honest, we all skirt the line and sometimes we even jump over it.
When I look at a pretty famous example of idol worship in the Bible I think of the golden calf story… you know when Moses goes up the mountain to get the 10 commandments, the people get bored, so Aaron (Moses’ brother) makes a statue of a cow for the people to have a party around. This is a weird story in a lot of respects for Western audience to get, but the weirdest thing that happens is when Aaron finishes making the calf he says, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”
Now, we all sit back say, “Wait a minute. That cow didn’t bring you out of Egypt, God did!”
You see, the Israelites idol worship was terrible because they were giving credit to a stupid cow for something God had done. They were putting their hope and trust and getting excited about something that hadn’t done anything for them.
For all of us I think the line is similar. When we put so much faith that this thing or that thing will bring us contentedness, we worship an idol. When we put so much emphasis on a person or job that we can’t see past them, we worship an idol. When our hope for the future rests on a given outcome rather than on provision of God, we worship an idol. When things don’t go our way and we blame or even curse God, we worship an idol. When things do go our way and we get excited to everyone else but fail to praise God, we worship an idol. When our sleep becomes more important than coming together with God’s people, we worship an idol. When we read book and magazine or watch as much TV as possible but don’t make the time to sit down and get into God’s Word, we worship an idol.
It’s a sneaky thing… idol worship.
I’m guilty of this in more ways than just wanting techno-geeky stuff (though that certainly becomes an idol for me), and I’m sure you are to. Look at your life and really ask the questions: Where is my hope? Where is my trust? Where do I run to when I want to rejoice? Who or what do I blame when things go wrong? Where are my priorities? What do I worry about more than anything?
Find your idols and then give them right back to the Lord.