Monday, February 28, 2011

Taking Away the Idols

In Exodus and Deuteronomy, the first commandment says, "You shall have no other gods before Me." What we recite is shorter, though: "You shall have no other gods." After all, God did not mean that it's okay to have other gods, but, well, y'know, He wants to be in first place ahead of the others.

And yet ...

He does let us keep our other gods. Over the course of a lifetime, He takes away one god after another. Sometimes those gods go toppling in a hurry: when there's a financial disaster, or a diagnosis of a deadly disease, or the death of one who is especially dear to us. Or maybe those gods aren't toppled easily. Maybe we simply become aware of our idolatry and confess it and beg forgiveness, unable to free ourselves. Sometimes the true God goes slowly and gently, unwilling to free us of our idols so quickly that we are unable to stand. (Think of Job's wife who advised him to curse God and die.)

It is amazing that, even in something so fatal as idolatry, God's love for us is paramount. He saves us from our idols. But He does it in a time and a manner that is good for us -- not in a way that focuses on His due place as king.

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