It was all that downhill skiing as a kid that did my knee in, and now that I am older, I am certainly feeling the effect. Even taking a walk can be painful. I have found myself hobbling to avoid the pain of a knee. There is one big problem with hobbling, and that is that it makes other joints hurt as I compensate for the weak knee. Hobbling isn’t the way it should be, and it isn’t much fun either!
In my Wednesday Bible study, we are doing Brad Bigney’s study, Gospel Treason-Betraying the Gospel with Hidden Idols. It has been an eye-opening study for so many of the women in the group, including me! Daily, as we study, we are being confronted with the hidden idols in our lives. We tend to think of idols and idol worship as an Old Testament problem, but it is not. It is just as much of a problem for us today as it was back then.
In 1 Kings 18, there is a fascinating story detailing an interaction between Elijah and the wicked King Ahab. You may remember that Ahab was the king of Israel, and he had gone very far off the rails regarding following the Lord. He and Jezebel, his wife, had 450 prophets of Baal. Idol worship was not the kind of thing the king of Israel should have been involved in, but he was. God sent Elijah to straighten things out. Elijah challenged the 450 prophets to a contest. Both he and the prophets would build an altar, prepare a sacrifice, and ask their god to send a fire to burn up the sacrifice.
Baal’s prophets built the altar, prepared the sacrifice, and then began to implore their god to send the fire. They did all kinds of things to appease their god, including self-mutualization. 1 Kings 18:20 and 26 says, Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, HOBBLING between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent. (26) So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no reply of any kind. Then they danced, HOBBLING around the altar they had made.
Did you see(hear) that? They hobbled between two opinions; they danced and hobbled and limped around the altar to no avail. Nothing happened! Commentator David Guzik said, “This is the sad result of worshipping an imaginary god or the god of our own making. We may dedicate great sincerity, sacrifice, and devotion to such gods, but it means nothing. There is no one there to answer.”
I have been wondering lately, how often have I made an idol in my life and then hobbled around its altar trying to make things happen. Maybe making an idol out of having the perfect kids, the ideal house, the picture-perfect life? Perhaps making an idol of a bank account or some other possession? Maybe this is something you are struggling with also?
David wrote these words in Psalm 139: 23 and 24, Search me, Oh God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
So, today instead of hobbling around the altar of our idols, let’s ask God to search our hearts and follow Jesus giving him our all.