Book of 1Samuel Chapter 12 Verse 21 NIV
Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.
Our Western society has turned from its Christian Judeo roots of worshiping God, to a culture obsessed with fame, celebrity and literally pop idols.
Amongst other things, reality TV, often cruelly focusing on people’s weaknesses and less desirable traits has provided a road to a spotlight where you can set yourself on a pedestal and speak to the world. Whether the eyes that see you or the ears that hear you are delivered foolishness and return mockery seems to many a small price to pay in exchange for their time under the sun.
This highlights our societal change in focus from character and integrity to skill, talent and ability. A good example of this is the world of football whether players are now celebrities and by extension so their wives and girlfriends. Many of these players have become idols despite appalling behaviour off of the field. For example, repeated sex scandals, involving the married, who have looked to excuse their behaviour citing reasons such as overconsumption of drugs or alcohol and have experienced little consequence as their partners choose to accept repeated humiliation in order to maintain the right to a gilded lifestyle.
Our music industry has fared no better. Over the last couple of years death has taken many idolised legends of pop and rock, some at tragically young ages. Their genius destroyed as their money allowed them access to just about any poison, human or chemical that could help them self-destruct.
Let’s me clarify; is it wrong or sinful to enjoy sport or music? Absolutely not. Is it wrong or sinful to admire the talents and abilities of others as they compete or entertain? Absolutely not.
But, is it wrong to actually worship these men and women? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Book of 2 Kings Chapter 17 Verse 12 NIV!
They worshipped idols, though the Lord had said, “you shall not do this”.
Admiring, appreciating and valuing peoples skills, team’s abilities, bands production and enjoying them is not sinful; but worshipping them is!
Are these the only things in our lives that can become objects of worship? No. Anything that becomes more important to us than Him, becomes an idol! That could be our business, our bank accounts, our house value, our pension ‘pots’, the latest must have gadget or our status in society. Additionally addictions can mean we idolise food, sex, drugs, alcohol and individualistically, just about anything else that we can become obsessive about!
Anyone not sure about this, what follows is the very first of the Ten Commandments:
Book of Exodus chapter 20 verse 2 NIV
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
At and for this time, God has stopped or altered globally financial markets, sporting events, concerts, theatre, non-essential work; summarily many of the things that we spend much of our time focused on.
Only a very short while ago, Carers were being described from ‘on high’ as unskilled. There was little recognition for those working at the front line, nursing the sick and caring for the dying. Did we truly value the delivery drivers, the couriers, the warehouse staff, the cleaners, the retail workers and the supermarket cashiers who have all recently been risking their lives to serve us? It was a joy to partake in the clapping, whooping and even setting off of fireworks in my neighbourhood recently to honour those working in our NHS. As our supermarkets struggled with supply and demand, many small and struggling local businesses have stepped up to deliver and support the local community.
By comparison, some of our footballers and their organisations have not shown themselves in a good light at this time. They are not the only ones, oh no, some with the highest media profiles have used this time to espouse more of their banal and self-focused utterings and our celebrities have dispensed some averagely vacuous and unhelpful opinions, Madonna speaking from her bath tub (on the coronavirus) comes to mind; “and what terrible about it is what’s great about it, it’s a great equaliser,”
Meanwhile our beloved Queen has rallied us with an encouraging speech, praising those “coming together to help others”.
There is a huge learning opportunity here to change our priorities and our values. If we choose to see and to hear, then not just as individuals but also as a society, we can press Re-set.
My prayer is this; I pray that we seek God for His purpose during this time and that whenever we return to whatever the new normal is, I ask that we remember what we have seen and what we have learnt.
God bless you all.
Book of 1Samuel Chapter 12 Verse 21 NIV