1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
Definition of idol
1: an object of extreme devotion
2: a representation or symbol of an object of worship
3: a likeness of something
4: a false conception : FALLACY
5: a form or appearance visible but without substance
Who’s your God? If someone were to observe your life, to watch from afar and take notes on your activity, what would their analysis of you look like? Does your day consist of selfish or selfless acts? What is the main focus of your activities? What would they say drives or motivates you? How is your leisure time spent?
Over the hedge.
I wonder what an objective observer would establish receives my worship. The Bible is very clear about worshiping idols, yet we seem to either greatly underestimate the importance of this or we neglect or ignore this reality all together.
1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Notice that the very first commandment is, “You shall have no other gods before me”. There is significance to the fact that God chose to list this first. And God goes on to lay out possibly the most well-known passage of scripture world-wide. Note where God ends his list, at covetousness. Refer back to Colossians chapter 3 where we read, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
We worship and sacrifice to idols out of defiance to God. We worship and sacrifice to idols out of a desire and lust for the world. And we are not anywhere near the first culture to do so.
Baal, god worshipped in many ancient Middle Eastern communities, especially among the Canaanites, who apparently considered him a fertility deity and one of the most important gods in the pantheon. As a Semitic common noun baal (Hebrew baʿal) meant “owner” or “lord,” although it could be used more generally; for example, a baal of wings was a winged creature, and, in the plural, baalim of arrows indicated archers. Yet such fluidity in the use of the term baal did not prevent it from being attached to a god of distinct character. As such, Baal designated the universal god of fertility, and in that capacity his title was Prince, Lord of the Earth. He was also called the Lord of Rain and Dew, the two forms of moisture that were indispensable for fertile soil in Canaan. In Ugaritic and Hebrew, Baal’s epithet as the storm god was He Who Rides on the Clouds. In Phoenician he was called Baal Shamen, Lord of the Heavens.
Astarte, also spelled Athtart or Ashtart, great goddess of the ancient Middle East and chief deity of Tyre, Sidon, and Elat, important Mediterranean seaports. Hebrew scholars now feel that the goddess Ashtoreth mentioned so often in the Bible is a deliberate conflation of the Greek name Astarte and the Hebrew word boshet, “shame,” indicating the Hebrews’ contempt for her cult. Ashtaroth, the plural form of the goddess’s name in Hebrew, became a general term denoting goddesses and paganism. Both Astarte and Anath are the sisters and consorts of Baal and share the dual character of goddesses of love and of war.
Moloch, also spelled Molech, a Canaanite deity associated in biblical sources with the practice of child sacrifice. The name derives from combining the consonants of the Hebrew melech (“king”) with the vowels of boshet (“shame”), the latter often being used in the Old Testament as a variant name for the popular god Baal (“Lord”). In the Hebrew Bible, Moloch is presented as a foreign deity who was at times illegitimately given a place in Israel’s worship as a result of the syncretistic policies of certain apostate kings.
These three account for the upper echelon of the ancient pantheon of gods. And they have a couple things in common as we just read. Rulers or kings, above all others, fertility and sexualization (both of the earth and the body), and child sacrifice.
4Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, 5and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind— 6therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.
9“When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ 31You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.
32 “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.
15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
16They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
17they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
18Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them.
So what does this have to do with us today? Is there a correlation to be made between the ancient Canaanites and our very culture? We’ve brazenly declared God is dead. And in so doing, we created the assumption that idols and false gods hold no sway on us whatsoever.
In London and New York there have been on display replicas of the Monumental Arch of Palmyra (or gateway to the temple of bel – baal), the original being destroyed in August 2015 by ISIS, and not long after, from New York, we received The Reproductive Health Act expanding abortion practices to levels unimaginable in the not too distant past. And we’ve been blinded to the reality that Planned Parenthood has been charged by the federal government with dissecting aborted fetuses and selling the body parts for experimentation, even as sick as humanized mice experiments - this should shock and frighten us all. In the UK, they incinerate the aborted children and use a transfer of “heat to energy” to save on expenses.
We have deified the very creation that we inhabit. Mother Nature and Mother Earth we dare not offend. Isn’t it odd that we refer to our planet as Mother, as if the planet has the attributes of personhood? We sacrifice and worship this idol as well. We play into the sexualization of a planet and in so doing we play into our own over-sexualization, and out of convenience or worship (interchangeable if you ask me) we arrive back at sacrificing unwanted children on this altar.
But there’s hope. Of course I say this with a caveat. This week has not been fun. This week has felt like hell on earth. But God has been speaking to me. He has been reassuring and guiding me. It has not been easy. There has been pressure mounting from all sides – yet His voice is constant amidst the storm that is upon us all, now, today.
He gave me these three words earlier this week. Perspective. Life. Love. Allow me to finish the third chapter of Colossians.
6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
The wrath of God is upon this world. A world that hates and hurts, that covets and lusts, that discards its most precious entity, the life of the innocent. But when we choose God, we can perceive world in a different light, we enter the darkness with that light and change the darkness to light, offering a new perspective, NO emblazoning a new perspective on those who witness what is within us, and what is within us is the life, the pneuma of Genesis that filled the first Adam and created a soul, a soul made in perfection from a perfect Creator, a creator that made this world and everything contained within it, everything outside of, the confines of time and space and reality – and he made it all for Love. A true sacrifice. The type of sacrifice that leads to a worship not of created things, but of the Creator, of Love.
I John 4:7-12
7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
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