Wednesday, October 9, 2019

False Gods Can Kill

9 October

The LORD replied, “When the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands?  But you have forsaken me and served other gods, so I will no longer save you.  Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble!”  (Jdg 10:11–14; NIV)

In the "Wounded Healer," Henri Nouwen retells a tale from ancient India: Four royal brothers decided each to master a special ability.  Time went by, and the brothers met to reveal what they had learned. "I have mastered a science," said the first, "by which I can take but a bone of some creature and create the flesh that goes with it."  "I," said the second, "know how to grow that creature's skin and hair if there is flesh on its bones."  The third said, "I am able to create its limbs if I have flesh, the skin, and the hair."  "And I," concluded the fourth, "know how to give life to that creature if its form is complete."  Thereupon the brothers went into the jungle to find a bone so they could demonstrate their specialties.  As fate would have it, the bone they found was a lion's.  One added flesh to the bone, the second grew hide and hair, the third completed it with matching limbs, and the fourth gave the lion life.  Shaking its mane, the ferocious beast arose and jumped on his creators.  He killed them all and vanished contentedly into the jungle. 

We, too, have the capacity to create what can devour us.  Goals and dreams can consume us.  Possessions and property can turn and destroy us unless we first seek God's Kingdom and righteousness, and allow him to breathe into what we make of life. (Nathan Castens)

Isn't it funny how people still worship "things" other than God?  At the same time, when trouble comes, and there appears no way out, the one they cry out to is God.  Not once have I heard someone in trouble cry out, "Oh, Buddha, help me!"  Even those that say there is no God often call upon his name when times get bad.  I've never heard one of them say something like, "Oh, empty space around me, help!"  It seems like most people, believers, and non-believers call upon God in times of trouble.  If he is good enough to call on in times of distress, why not when times are good?  The simple answer to this question is "man."  Men and women like to think we can do it all by ourselves.  We don't like to think someone else is in charge.  We want to be in charge of something, especially our own lives. 

Look at what happened to the children of Israel.  When they were oppressed, God rescued them, and in turn, they started worshiping false gods, ignoring the One True God.  When things started going wrong for the Israelites again, they could not understand why God would not help them.

We are just like the Israelites.  We follow false gods; jobs, money, sports, drugs, alcohol, and the list goes on.  Many find these false gods are like the lion in the Henri Nouwen story, where there comes a time when false gods will devour us. 

The only real way to find happiness is not by trying to find a god that will end up consuming us, but by finding and following the One True God who wants to give us everlasting abundant life.


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