Idols and Weeds
The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles are a history of the ups and downs of the people of Israel under various kings. There are some “good kings” who follow God and there are “bad kings” who do not. One of the sinful things the people would do is put up false idols and worship God at high places instead of the temple. They created their own false brand of religion, tailored to their needs and not to God’s desires. In these books we often read phrases like this: 2 Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God, 3 for he removed the altars of the foreign gods and the high places, and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the wooden images. 4 He commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment. 5 He also removed the high places and the incense altars from all the cities of Judah, and the kingdom was quiet under him. What struck me this morning was the phrase “cut down the wooden images”. We read this phrase over and over again in the Bible during this time of Israel’s history. But in order to cut down an image repeatedly, the images must continue to be set up over and over again.
The other day I was weeding the flowers and landscaped area in front of our house. It’s not the first time I’ve done this and it won’t be the last time because the weeds continue to grow. I will “cut them down” but they will grow back. If I don’t weed on a regular basis, the weeds will overtake the flowers and spoil their beauty. This is very similar to what idols do in our lives. They sprout up and we need to cut them down. But the way to true victory over idols is the same as with weeds, you to need take out the roots. Think about the idols in your life. Do you simply cut them down when they get unruly and cause a problem for you or are you willing to do the more difficult task and pull them out by the roots? If pornography is an idol, what is its root in your life…dissatisfaction? Unrealistic expectations? If greed and materialism are idols, what are their roots…fear? Low self esteem? These idols, like weeds, will not simply go away if we “cut them down”. No, we need to ask God’s help to attack them at their very roots. The good news is that the root problems are often root issues for more than one idol, so doing the hard work on something like unmet expectations will often help remove more than the initial idol we thought we were working on. Need to spend any time in the “garden”?