Summary: This is the third message in the Contrarian’s Guide series. This week we look at idols, and how as odd as it sounds, if we are not careful our idol becomes "me."
This is our third message in our contrarian series - we’ve been looking at things from a little different perspective, or vantage point. Last week we talked about slowing down - rather than speeding through life, maybe if we slowed down we could learn to hear God. The week before that we talked about focusing on less instead of adding more. This week we look at idols, and how as odd as it sounds, if we are not careful our idol becomes “me.”
Growing up for me, the most popular guy in america was Michael Jordan. I never really was a huge basketball fan, but growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s you didn’t have to know basketball to know Michael Jordan. It all began with a pair of shoes - “Air Jordan’s” and the rest is history. I have always loved watching Jordan play ball. I loved seeing him dunk and shoot threes. It seemed like every thing he did, he did well - including commercials. Nike, Gatorade, Mac-Donald’s and several other companies made a fortune off Jordan with campaigns like “Be like Mike.” and Spike Lee, saying ”It’s gotta be the shoes... By all accounts, he had success right? But, his marriage fell apart, his dad was murdered, and he’s had a few gambling problems - worst of all though it seems that he’s still chasing success - still chasing happiness - but if we are honest, don’t we all do that? ...that’s why I chose the clip from Pirates of the Caribbean - Captain jack Sparrow is a God, but he still tells William Turner, “Save Me.”
In the Old Testament, God chose a nation to be his example to the world. The Israelites were chosen by God to be his people. “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-6
He frees them from slavery and takes them into a land called the promised land, and on the way they get the ten commandments. It’s an interesting story found in Exodus 32. God has just given Moses the commandments. he’s been on the mountain with God. As a matter of fact, here’s the first couple of commandments: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.” Exodus 20:2-4 So, guess what happens as God is wrapping everything up... Read Exodus 32: 1-8
So, I have been thinking lately - what’s our calf? What do we turn to when we want something comfortable? What’s our default setting? Electronic machines have default settings. You push a button and it goes back to the settings that came from the factory - I think we have a default setting too...
I think our default God is “me” When push comes to shove, I tend to reset back to what I want. It’s a dream of most of us, right? To be the center of attention - To have it our way - to get what we want - To be worshipped - adored, loved -
Be careful though... God’s not a big fan of people who want to make themselves gods. In the prophet Isaiah’s writings we learn of an Angel named lucifer. He was the worship leader for God. His name means “bright one” He was talented. But listen... Read Isaiah 14:12-15
So if that is our default setting - if self worship is normal, how do we live differently, what else is there?
In Matthew 5, Jesus begins his ministry with a message. it’s a passage we call the beatitudes. many people think this was probably his standard message, his sugar stick - or his fallback sermon. He says do these things and you will be blessed... Another way to look at this passage though is to see them as kingdom rules. If God is your king, here are some rules to live by - and they look different from the way most of us live...
Blessed are the poor in spirit - The poor in spirit recognize that they have no spiritual "assets." They know they are spiritually bankrupt. With the word poor, Jesus uses the more severe term for poverty. It indicates someone who must beg for whatever they have or get. (David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible, Matthew)