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Are we idolizing the wrong God?

Columbia Biblical Studies: Tuesday, August 26
Columbia Biblical Studies: Tuesday, August 26
Lynn Greyling

Today’s bible study is Jonah 2:8: Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God's love for them.

What is the first thing to come to mind when you read this verse from Jonah? The very first thing that came to my mind was the cat that ancient Egyptians worshiped. I don’t know why, but that particular statue came to mind. Then, after thinking about it for a while, I became aware of so many things that we cling to as idols – love, beauty, money, material possessions, assets, real estate, friend, jewelry, photos, and a host of other things. We all have our choices, but many of us seem to center on wealth and material possessions.

Are these worthless idols? They certainly are not worthless. We need them to survive, we need them to complete our lives and we need them to define who we are. We need them to provide a connection with the past and with one another. We need them for a sense of self satisfaction and simple enjoyment. But, taken in this context, they are not idols. We like them, we need them, we depend upon them, we work for them and we cherish them. Yet, we do not worship them. They are a part of our lives and, it is worth mentioning, a very necessary part.

But what about idols? Do we really have any idols? Is there something or someone in our lives that we truly worship? We often hear sayings about worshiping the ground someone walks on or worshiping the morning. Does this mean that we idolize the ground or the sunrise? No, not necessarily. It becomes a problem for most of us only when we become so entrenched in idolizing something or someone other than God that we forget the only one who we should truly be worshiping in our hearts, minds and souls – Jesus Christ.

It is not wrong to want a better home, a newer car, a prettier necklace or a larger boat. It is only when and if these things so consume us that there is no room left to worship God that we find ourselves in a spiritual dilemma. This is because God never turns away from us. We can choose to turn away from Him, but He will never choose to turn away from us. We can turn back to God at any time, whenever we are willing to give ourselves and our hearts and our lives to Jesus Christ our Lord. It is then that things will fall into place and everything in our lives will regain perspective.

Material possessions and wealth will still be a part of our lives, as will homes and cars. But we will enjoy them and use them to the glory of God. We will know that our acquisition of them comes only through the love of Jesus Christ and that, while we need and enjoy them, we cannot idolize them.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentaryby John MacArthur, Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor

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