In 1st Samuel 19, we are told that Mikhal, David’s wife and daughter of Saul, told David to hide from the assassins Saul had sent, and in verse 13 of that chapter we read that to fool the men sent to kill David, she took the household idol and placed it in his bed.
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So, nu? Here is a man who God, himself, said was a man after his own heart, yet he was violating the second commandment! And this isn’t the first time we read of God’s chosen people having idols in their homes.
Rachel stole the household idols from Laban when she fled with Jacob. Now, we won’t be surprised when we hear Laban had the household gods with him because he wasn’t a fearer of Adonai. Not really. But why did Jacob, who did fear Adonai, allow Rachel to take them? And why don’t we read of him getting rid of them, at least after Rachel died?
And then in the Book of Joshua, we read how when Joshua was ready to die, he told the people he and his house will serve the Lord, and to rid themselves of their idols.
And the prophets told the people to get rid of their idols, even when it is apparent that the people were also worshiping Adonai, since Adonai said (through more than one prophet) that the offerings were no good because the people didn’t really mean it (in other words, they were going through the motions without any real heartfelt desire), or that they had prostituted themselves serving other gods.
Yet, despite this blatant violation of one of the Big Ten, so many times God granted peace to the people and didn’t punish them. If Shaul (Paul) was relating this, he probably would say something like, “So, since the LORD didn’t punish them for having idols, does that mean idol worship is acceptable to God? Heaven forbid!”
(Because this is the way Shaul wrote to his congregations that he has been so misunderstood, with Christian scholars teaching the question as doctrine and ignoring the response.)
Putting this situation in modern terms, are there household idols in people’s houses, today? What about the TV? The computer? Cell phones? Have these replaced having dinner as a family, sharing experiences with each other? Or are we just people eating food while staring at our technological toys?
Being a Baby Boomer I grew up eating dinner with the family while watching TV (generally, it was “Superman”, followed by “Batman”) and I confess I have never really broken that habit. Donna and I still have our dinner watching TV. But when we are out together on a Date Night, we do a quick “Check in” on Facebook, then the phones are put away. And when we are cruising or on vacation, the phones are left in the safe in the stateroom, taken out only to take pictures with when at some port or on an excursion.
Maybe there are more idols in our lives than we care to admit, or even recognize since so much of what we do every day becomes habit, as we “auto pilot” our way through life. So, I would ask you to take a moment and look around- do you see anything, or do you do anything that in some way interferes with your worship of God (which must include close relationship with family and friends)?
I am not saying to Deep Six the 72″ HDTV, or to throw the cell phones in the river, but maybe, just maybe, once in a while we can all have a dinner without interruption, or spend time playing a board game with the family instead of binge watching “The Walking Dead”.
Who knows? You might find out you all have something in common.
Thank you for being here and please share these messages. Remember that I always welcome your comments.
That’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!