October 4 I Sunday
“That same night the Lord said to him, ‘…Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.’” —Judges 6:25
The word “Baal” means “master,” and more frighteningly, “possessor.” It applies to a variety of man-made images believed to have supernatural power. Throughout the pagan world, the Baal cults had huge followings, which greatly challenged the worship of God by seducing the Israelites for most of their history. This serves as a warning for us today as to how easy it can be to adopt the gods of our time.
Many of us get so caught up in the cultural norms of society that we actually embrace its gods. We can become driven by one or more of many things that we think are important such as pride, money, reputation, materialism, sex, power, body image, work and even food. Reformer John Calvin wrote, “The human mind is a perpetual factory of idols.” In Tim Keller’s book, Counterfeit Gods, he says, “Idols are spiritual addictions that can lead to terrible evil.” He cites this example, “Money can become so much more than money. It can become a powerful, life-altering, culture-shaping god that makes us do what we would not normally do. And it eventually breaks the hearts of its worshippers.”
There are many people who once embraced the gospel, but have sidelined God because of doubts, which have presented themselves as intellectual questions. It is good to pursue them, but often the root of doubt is not intellectual, but moral. They usually want what God forbids, and will either recognize that and turn from it, or they get rid of God. It is into this vacuum of unwillingness to trust God that idols find their way into our lives. If we are not engaging in the things of God, we can be sure more and more idols will present themselves.
When we allow the material things of this world to engage and dominate our lives, we live in spiritual poverty, which ultimately leads to dissatisfaction and ruin. Getting rid of idols is not always easy. Their roots can go very deep and it is often a process, but one in which we have the Lord’s help to work through. Before any change can take place externally, we have to deal with the internal by
allowing the Holy Spirit to expose the idols that have become barriers to experiencing God and confess them.
Christ indwells us, not as an addition to anything, but so that He may be Lord of our lives. He is all the resource we need, and if we have set up alternative idols within our hearts, we need Him that much more. Our peace, security and lasting joy does not lie in the “Baals” of this world, but in Jesus Christ alone.
Prayer: Dear Lord, temptation is all around us. Keep me away from the “Baals” of this world and firmly rooted in You. Thank You, Lord.