On Sundays there will be no written devotional as the reading for that day also serves as the sermon text for Shades Valley Community Church. If you would like to listen to this morning’s sermon on Hosea 5 you may do so by clicking here.
Habakkuk 2:18 (click here)
What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! (Habakkuk 2:18)
Did you have an imaginary friend as a kid?
I never did, but I have witnessed this popular phenomenon plenty of times. It seems to be mostly harmless imaginary play… but I wonder if adults are not often guilty of something very similar…
Is this not what idolatry is at its root? An idol is not an imaginary friend… but an imaginary god. And just like a small child imagines that they will have all the wonders of friendship via their imagination, people try to attain all the wonders of God through idols.
Ultimately, all our idols are attempts at satisfying the deepest desire of our heart for joy… but all our idols come up short because they really cannot give us anything at all. They are “speechless” and teachers of lies. In other words, they make promises that they are unable to fulfill. They teach us and call us to trust in them, but they have no “speech,” no power to deliver the joy they have promised.
Whether our idols are money, sex, power, self, popularity, marriage, children, singleness, education, awards, etc, etc, etc… they all turn out to be broken wells that run dry… unable to quench our thirst for joy (Jeremiah 2:11-13).
Only God and his eternal glory can satisfy our thirst for joy! Come and feast on his beauty, goodness, and greatness that never run dry… feast on his glory that will forever satisfy (Psalm 16:11)!
He is anything but imaginary!
Amos 6:4-7 (click here)
Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! (Amos 6:4-6)
I splurged not that long ago.
There were these noise-canceling headphones I had been saving up for a long time and, after receiving a monetary gift, I finally had enough! I wear these things all the time now… especially if I am trying to read or study. Yes, they were expensive, but they seem to be worth every penny as the luxury blocks out all the noise and allows me to ignore whatever is going on around me.
Luxury, in general, can have this effect on us… can’t it? Enabling us to insulate ourselves and ignore all that is going on around us.
The prophet Amos cried out against such luxurious insulation. The rich of the nation could not be bothered with the ruin of their brothers because they were too busy lounging, feasting, and writing songs.
It’s not that there is something wrong with lounging, feasting, and songwriting… I mean Amos actually compares their musical creativity to that of David, which we know was honoring to the Lord. So why was David’s music-making ok, but the people in Amos’ day are being called out for creating new melodies?
David’s music was about connecting with God and others. The people of Amos’s time used music to insulate themselves from God and others and to be completely self-absorbed. All of their lounging and feasting was centered on glorification of the self… not glorification of God and an invitation to all to come and enjoy him.
This danger is so ever-present in our affluent society. Most of us have the time and resources to insulate ourselves from the world if we want. We don’t need to depend on God… we have enough to take care of ourselves. We don’t have to pay attention to the needs of others… we can block them out with noise-canceling headphones.
Lord have mercy and remind us that all we have is from you and to be used for you. May we even lounge, feast, and make music in ways that connect us and others with you! Let us not use luxury to insulate ourselves, but let us use our lives and every resource you’ve given us to pulsate with your love!
Let us splurge in the riches of your glory and extend the invitation for everyone else to do the same!