Summary: "The the dearest idol I have known. Whate’er that idol be. Help me to tear it from the throne and worship only Thee."
What American Idol Do You Follow?
"I am the Lord God. You shall have no other idols before me." (Exodus 20:2,3)
Recently, American Idol pulled in over 60 million viewers and continues to be the number show on television. Many people long to find heroes to follow only to be disillusioned by folks like Katherine McPhee who was found to be addicted to bulima in order to maintain an ideal appearance in a quest to find acceptance and popularity.
One of the most convicting dedicatory hymns goes like this:
"The the dearest idol I have known. Whate’er that idol be. Help me to tear it from the throne and worship only Thee."
Paul wrote, "We renounce the hidden things of darkness." WE need to openly reject, repudiate and renounce all that is evil involved in the sins of omission, faulty dispositions, erroneous presuppositions as well as the overt sins of commission. Jesus did it in Matthew 4 with the word of God and triumphed every time.
In the Old Testament it is a mystery why so many of Israel’s kings drifted into idolatry. One would think that with all that God gave them they would remain humble learning from Job that "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord." It seemed that the deceptions of the world, the flesh and the devil were so enticing that nearly all of the northern kingdom’s leaders and only a mere handful of the southern kingdom’s rulers successfully refused to succumb to idolatry.
Let us examine some of the appeal of idols so we can learn from these errors to avoid:
1. PRIDE - Many of the kings longed to elevate themselves through a self-centered sense of satisfaction with their achievements, qualities or possessions. With an overbearing sense of their own importance they forgot God’s gifts, callings and sovereign hand of blessings. They allowed their sense of position to go to their heads and esteemed themselves greater than they really were.
The modern parallel to this can be seen in people who exalt themselves to a point where they have all kinds of detrimental assumptions about their own self-importance. It is little wonder that many need to be reminded of Paul’s admonition, "If anyone thinks he stands, let him take heed lest he fall." "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but in humility do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. But think so as to have sound judgment as God has alotted to each a measure of faith." Let us always give credit where it is do, "Every good and perfect gift comes down from heaven." (Rom 12:3)(I John 2:15,16)(James 1:17)
2. POWER - Many people in the Old Testament wanted freedom from the any authority - both of God’s hand and the priests. Individuals wanted their faith to conform to their lifestyle instead of their way of life to fit their beliefs.
Today many folks do not want to submit to authority that is greater than them. Rather than revelling in power over other people we should enable people to find their chief authority through the Holy Spirit, His word and His will. Jeremiah wrote, "Let not a wise man boast in his wisdom. Let not a mighty man boast in his might, but let him who boasts boast of this that he understands and knows God." (Jer 9:23,24)
3. PRAISE AND POPULARITY - In the Old Testament many kings exchanged the awesome and holy nautre of God with gods that reflected human nature. As a result many idols reflected local cultures instead of the universally transcendant God of the universe. People fell into the subtle pattern of worshipping their own creations instead of the Creator who is blessed forever. They conformed to this world instead of being transformed by God and His word. The cultural gods did not need to sacrifices, praise of attention as commanded by the Lord God. Instead the cultural gods only required occasional appeasements in certain ceremonies.
Many modern parallels are seen in our celebrity culture that seems fascinated with what Tom Cruise or Carrie Underwood or Jessica Simpson is up to. Billions of dollars are spent on super-market tabloids to allow people to keep up with the latest buzz about entertainment’s celebrity happenings. As a result people see sacrifice and service to the Lord as a form of self-inflicted punishment that makes no sense to them. They watch American Idol as the number one program on television thinking success is worth pursuing at all costs. O the false allure of temporary popularity and praise.
Rather than seeking praise for ourselves we should find our greatest satisfaction in giving praise, honor and renown to the Lord God who is worthy of all worship. Jesus condemned the Pharisees when He said, "You seek the praises of men instead of the praise that comes from God so you are without understanding." (Luke 15:16)