Friday, June 17, 2016

Head Lice and Idols

I was talking with some friends from church the other day about kids getting head lice at school. They mentioned that it seems like it is always the same family that starts it. They surmised the reason is because when that family finds out they have it, they treat the kids but don’t pursue it by deep cleaning everything in the house to completely rid the family of the pests. So every few months, one of the creatures would find its way back to one of the kids and hitches a ride to school, spreading them all over again.

That situation reminded me of what I just read in Judges 1-5.
Under Joshua, Israel took the majority of the land God gave them, and they thoroughly evicted all the nations they conquered. Before he died, Joshua warned them to not allow the conquered nations to remain in Israel, even as slaves. After he died, Israel conquered more land but they didn’t evict the other nations (as God commanded), so those nations and their false religions became thorns in the sides of the Israelites and caused God’s people to turn away from Him. Even the nations that they put into forced labor eventually began to have an influence on Israel. They intermarried and the pagan gods that the conquered nations worshipped gained access into the homes of the Israelites, and eventually into the country as a whole. It is really depressing to see the cycle through out the book of Judges, and even Kings. They conquered a land, turned from the One true God to pagan gods, did evil in the sight of God, were handed over (by God) to be oppressed by another nation. They cried out and returned to God, God had mercy and raised a judge to rescue them and life was good until that judge died, then the cycle started all over again. Over and over.

As with head lice and conquered nations, the sin that we only subdue and try to control rather than evicting entirely will lead us astray so that we fall into sin again. And that hoarded, protected sin will become an idol to us. We have to regularly, daily examine our lives for sin that we are holding on to, ignoring or justifying and get rid of it. But again, as with lice and conquered nations, it takes time, effort and consistency. It doesn’t just happen over night. You have to be diligent and stay on top of the problem, otherwise it will gain leverage over you and you will in turn become enslaved.

Unfortunately, this can also happen with things and habits that are not sinful. Even good and necessary things (like a job, family member or coffee) can become idols to us if we allow them to dictate part of our lives, to become more important to us than God, or if we become dependant on them for anything. Only God is to have that power, we should not let any thing or person be master over us.

      1 Corinthians 6:12New American Standard Bible (NASB)

12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

We are to maintain control over ourselves (rather than allowing something/someone else to have that control), and allow God to be our governing authority. What are you hiding or justifying? What are you turning to for comfort, relief, or strength? What do you love or desire? Take time (it may take a lot of time) and ask God to search your life for these things, root out your idols, and get rid of them. Be diligent in your daily walk with God to continually seek anything that is trying to pull you away from Him, and deal with it promptly. Determine to honor God with your whole life. (I talk more about this Slavery in a previous post.)

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