I love the Nelson-Adkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. My NYC artist daughter says that the collection there is considerable, and she would know. I’m a particular fan of the antiquities section, Egypt, Rome, and all that, and Bob always likes to visit the Orientals. Of course, part of the artwork that is preserved has to do with the culture’s endemic religious artifacts, including the stone/metal/wooden statues and idols, some little and some not so little (there’s a Buddha in the stairwell that would not even fit in my house….)
Of course, in our post-modern (whatever that is), enlightened and highly scientific American society, we are not duped by such things, the likes of which some cultures still cling to today. Right?
I remember, as a young pre-teen, finding out that, in reality, we do. Things like Money, Status, Relationships, or Anything that we set up as more important than loving and obeying God—that is an idol. I seem to recall at the beginning of this young epiphany that the one which wouldn’t even fit into my emotional house at the time was called “Popularity”. Ouch.
Here’s what God says about idolatry, ancient or post-modern:
“The idols of the nations are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and mouths but cannot breathe. And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.”
Sheesh, no wonder God was all over the Israelites time and again for their penchant toward idol worship! Spiritual blindness, deafness, and even the ability to discern and speak truth, were seriously compromised; in fact their very identity was attacked and shrouded.
And nothing’s changed today. Putting my identity, my worship, my security, in anyone or anything other than Jesus is idolatry. It becomes evident in my choices, and my use of time and resources. And like many of the idols from the past covered with silver and gold, pretty to look at with all that sparkle, there’s nothing of worth underneath.
My teen years are long behind me, but idols still vie for my attention, lurking in corners trying to weave their sticky webs hoping to catch me unaware: retirement funds, insurance, home improvement….different shape and size, but the same sparkle and shine. Not that these are bad things in and of themselves; however, I don’t want my social responsibility to become my social identity. I have One identity, One hope, One God. Faith in Him is living and impactful, and makes my life the same.
Otherwise, I’m just a dusty museum piece.
Psalm 135: 15-18 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt) (Kindle Locations 19817-19820). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.