Commandment #2: No idols. "No person or thing is more important to me than God. Even if it’s cool, God is way cooler."
Wait a second…isn’t this the same as "No other gods"? A little bit.
You don’t think I have an idol?! Uh, yeah, I do. My idol…well, I really don’t know what it is, but I am 90% sure there is something in my life that I’m holding higher than God. In the last couple of weeks, however, I’ve really gotten closer to Him, and I’m casting away my idols. Some previous ones I’ve had are my looks. Oh, I still want to look great. And I can’t leave a room without looking in the mirror. But I’m not obsessing so much anymore. In God’s eyes, my looks on the inside should be a whole lot prettier than the looks on the outside. Maybe you’re idol isn’t looks. But you do have an idol. Yep. So maybe it isn’t a potbellied statue that sits on a shelf. Is it your dad? He’s the coolest, isn’t he? Or maybe video games. Ugh, I absolutely hate how kids these days are spending all day playing video games. But video games are ok, as long as you want to be with God more than you want to be zooming Mario through a strange village to rescue Princess Peach.
Open your bible…to Isaiah 44:6-20. Isaiah goes into a detailed process of how men obsess over idols that they made themselves! Many people, even today, worship man-made idols. And all the people in the world have had idols, and probably didn’t even know it. A common idol is money. I’m not saying money is bad. I’m just saying that compared to God, money is worth as much an old raisin found under the couch cushions.
Flip to…Hosea 2, which shows that God’s people were unfaithful. No matter how good God was to them, they still worshiped idols. But God continued to love His people, knowing that without Him they were lost! So He took away their good things—not to destroy them, but to bring them to their senses—so that once again they would turn to Him and receive His blessing.
The bible says…Idols can’t help. In Isaiah 44:6-20, Isaiah pokes fun at people who cut down a tree, use part of it for firewood, and then carve an idol from the rest. Then they bow down and pray to that hunk of wood! People today are often just as foolish, counting on the wrong things to help them. Some count on wealth, others on popularity. Some count on stylish clothes, other on athletic ability. But in the end, you can’t count on any of these things. What you can count on is God. Don’t misunderstand. It’s not wrong to have money or nice clothes. What’s wrong is to count on these things as if they are what life is all about. That’s idolatry. And that’s foolish. Living God’s way and making what’s important to Him important to you will lead you to a happy tomorrow and a happy forever.
When we read…Hosea 2 a minute ago, I’d like to point out that this passage has really jumped out at Christians in China. It’s true. Christians and missionaries in China are praying that God will take away the good things in America, the things most Americans hold over God. Sounds mean, huh? That’s what I thought at first. But really, they’re point of view is that they are helping us, that it’s for our own good. They think we focus too much on other things and not enough on God, where as in China, everyone is so poor, the only thing they can focus on is their Savior. Now, I’ll admit that America does not dwell fully upon God, but I have actually been praying for the reverse—that because of America’s economic growth, people here will realize that they got it all from God.
As all good things come to an end…so does this issue of One Voice Bible Study. Now let’s prepare our hearts to pray. Go somewhere your siblings won’t bug you. Maybe you can even use some prayer activities we talked about in the last bible study issue. Remember, you’re praying to God. Respect Him, but remember that He wants you to feel comfortable talking to Him.
Pray for someone you don't really care much about. Really. That girl who slouches in her chair, hoping to become invisible. Or that boy who gets into so much trouble just because he wants someone to notice him. C'mon, you know a kid who really is shunned by everyone else. Pray for that person. Pray that they will be blessed and that people will see them for who they really are. Pray that they will shine. And really mean it. That's the hardest part.