Sunday, July 26, 2020

Idolatry, Injustice, and Freedom

I read several chapters of Jeremiah for my quiet time with God today. Wow! That book has relevance to our contemporary situation.

While the United States is a secular republic, never intended to be a theocracy, the judgments of God on ancient Israel and on the nations of that era that had nothing to do with God were related to two things: idolatry and injustice.

God calls all nations and individual people to worship Him alone, not because God is an egomaniac, but because only the God first revealed to Israel and now to all people in Jesus, can give us life.

When nations or individuals start chasing after false gods, false sources of security, peace, or self-esteem, injustice always follows. Think of all the injustice unleashed in the world by people or countries that have followed fake gods:
  • from the gods of self or family to the gods of racial or ethnic superiority,
  • from the gods of materialism to the gods of sexual promiscuity,
  • from the gods of politics and human philosophies to the gods of legalistic religions that promise people good if they only behave in certain ways,
  • from the gods of social acceptance and popularity to the gods of comfort without regard to others.
All these gods are dead and following them leads to death.

Following them--worshiping them--also leads people and nations to perpetrate or to be complicit with the most heinous acts of injustices, injustices that become so much a part of idolaters' lives that they never question them. They assume, as God's ancient people did, according to Jeremiah, that God approves of their idolatries.

Jeremiah warns that God never approves of our chasing after false gods, which is exactly what we do whenever we allow any sin to take root in our lives.

Behind every violation of God's moral law, given in the Ten Commandments, is an act of idol worship. Above all, every willful sin commit is an act of self-worship, an example of the abiding human sin that can be traced back to Adam and Eve, the desire "to be like God," to BE God ourselves. That delusional ambition lay behind every injustice, heartache, relational breakdown, and sin that has ever been seen in human history.

Our call is simple: To daily turn from the idols that drag us down and to turn instead to Jesus for forgiveness and the life that only He, God the Son, can give.

Jeremiah's bracing message reminded me of that today. So, once more, I take refuge in Jesus so that He can free me from the idolatries of this world and the injustices to which they lead.

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