What Is Idolatry?

Today is Saturday, February 9, 2019.

Day 22,248

FOUR DAYS until Spring Training!!!

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
Carl Jung, Swiss Psychologist, 1875-1961

No one really wants to hear that, do they? But have you ever stopped to consider the traits in others that are so irritating? Perhaps I will try to stop and consider why I am irritated by someone instead of just letting the irritation run away with my brain and emotions.

The word of the day is inculpate. It means, “to involve in a charge; incriminate.” Also, “to charge with fault; blame; accuse.” (Dictionary.com)

So C wound up not getting the lasik adjustment done, after all. She arrived at the center and that eye was checking out just fine. The issue, it turns out, may be that she just can’t do the “monovision” type of lasik surgery. Each eye checks out great, as long as the other one is closed or covered. But together, she has vision issues, such as double vision. So she wound up going to Lenscrafters and getting a pair of distance/driving glasses that help the right eye work better with the left eye. She said she could see perfectly driving home. She’s trying to be happy about the whole thing, but is very frustrated about the way it all turned out. I’m not concerned about the money spent, as long as she can see well. Her close-up vision seems to be a lot better, so that’s good.

Of course, I also got to leave work early, yesterday, because I had scheduled the PTO to leave at 2:30 and go pick C up at the surgery center. Instead, I went home, practiced the wedding music, got my new printer set up in the study, and took out the trash and recycling. Very productive me, don’t you think?

Today, I have my vision appointment at 11:45. I’ll probably pick up lunch after that, and then the groceries are set for pickup between 2:00 and 3:00. Funny story. We were watching an episode of Silicon Valley last night, and two of the characters were in the local grocery store. One of them said that she was probably the only person in the store buying stuff for herself. As the camera panned out, everyone else around them was working for “Instacart,” one of the grocery pickup and delivery services. I thought that was hilarious. We tried Instacart once. I much prefer Kroger’s Click List. It’s cheaper and much more efficient. Plus I’m not expected to tip anyone (says so right on the web site). I have, of course, but only when it was, like, twenty degrees outside and raining or something. The click list people are not supposed to even accept tips. I’ve never had one turn me down, though. 🙂

All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:13

Today I am grateful:
1. For a weekend to rest in preparation for another work week.
2. The C was able to at least get some resolution for her vision, even if it meant a new pair of glasses.
3. That my wedding music practice continues to have positive results.
4. That God is God and I am not.
5. That “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”

Grace to you and peace
from God our Father
and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

(The Book of Common Prayer, Philippians 1:2)

(From Faith That Matters)

Today’s reading is “Idolatry: Unworthy Ideas of God,” by A.W. Tozer.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:21

“Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than he is and substitutes for the true God one made after his own likeness.”

I daresay most of us, when we hear the word “idolatry,” think of a carved image. You know, like the “golden calf” that Aaron made for the people when they all decided that Moses wasn’t coming back.

But we must expand our thoughts on this. Idolatry is much more than bowing to an image of some false god. It’s even more complex than, say, worshiping money or fame. The “god” in question will always “conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of mind from which it emerges.”

We might also make the mistake of assuming that only primitive peoples are still guilty of idolatry. I’m going to step out on a limb, here (not much of a stretch, since it seems to agree with Mr. Tozer), and say that it is even possible for a Christian to engage in idolatry.

For example, have you ever heard someone say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Is this a true statement about God? I say it is not. The Bible most certainly does not support it. Therefore, the person who believes this about God is guilty of idolatry.

What about, “Well, MY God wouldn’t _______!” Fill in the blank with whatever bigotry you want. The problem with this statement, to begin with, is the word “my.” He is not “my” God. He is God. Period.

“The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.”

Here is the most important statement in this reading. “Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.”

I have grown to be very careful with declarations about God, as time goes on. If the Bible doesn’t say it, or at least imply it (and I’m extremely careful with implications, too), then I will not say it about God. In the words of the Psalmist, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (Psalm 115:3) We had best think twice before saying, “MY God wouldn’t do thus and so.” We had best be cautious about thinking anything about God that may not be true.

Father, I pray for right understanding and wisdom concerning who You are, that might not entertain idolatrous thoughts about You. I desire to worship You in truth, as You truly are, not some idea that I have manufactured about You. I pray for Your Church, that all who call themselves by the Name of Jesus would do the same.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

Soli Deo Gloria!