Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Why Idols? Need

In Kelly Minter's No Other Gods Bible Study, the next reason we turn to idols is because we are convinced that the idol will bring us what we NEED.

The example she gives is the story of Sarah & Hagar in Genesis 16. 

Here we find that Sarah's perceived need is to have a family. Kelly tells us, "...during the era that Sarah & Hagar lived, the ability to bear children was essential. It was viewed as a need. If you weren't married or couldn't have children, you were basically seen as worthless in society..."

In verse 2 Sarah says, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Go sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can have a family by her." Sarah decides to use Hagar to have a kid. So Sarah is making Hagar her idol. By thinking she can have a family through her, that's like her saying, "Perhaps I can build a life through her." "Sarah was looking to an Egyptian slave girl to save her life. She was depending on someone she ended up hating...isn't it interesting that our false gods can even be things we hate."
**This was a new idea to me. I've only thought of idols as being things that we want or make us happy. I explore this idea of false gods being bad, or things we hate, again on the last topic of the "Why Idols?" week.

Genesis 21 gives the end of the story.

Sarah tries to do things her way & by doing so, she makes a disaster of her life. "How we complicate the process...God had this beautiful plan for Sarah in spite of how bleak things looked. Definitely she was in a bind. She had genuine cause for concern. But that's always going to be the place where our faith is tested. If it all looks easy & doable, it doesn't require faith."

"Certainly Sarah had waited a long time for a 'life.' But God had fully intended to give that to her. Not through Abraham. Not through Sarah's scheming. But through Himself. This gives me great encouragement to wait for God & keep my feisty little mitts off the process. It doesn't mean I sit around. There's plenty to do. It just means I don't force the outcome."

So...the biggest thing that speaks to me in this is the fact that the Lord TOLD ABRAHAM that He was going to make his descendants as numerous as the stars (Gen. 13). All Sarah had to do is trust the Lord & wait for His timing. It would be really easy for me to point fingers at Sarah & say shame, shame. But Sarah was probably a planner (like I) & was probably wondering, "Ok Lord...what's taking so long? I'm really old is it even possible for me to have a child?" Her earthly mind probably couldn't wrap around how that would work. She may have even started doubting that the Lord told them that at all. I can totally understand that. I. Have. Been. There.

Being in the "Waiting Room" is a very hard place to be. D & I have been there seeking the Lord & I must say, I vacillate between awesome faith in one minute & channeling the father in Mark 9 ("I believe! Lord, help my unbelief.") the next minute. The important thing to remember during the periods of waiting is to seek the Lord, be real with Him & your feelings, don't intervene, & wait for Him to fulfill His plans in His way. Doing so will keep your focus on the Lord & help you to not look to anyone or anything as an idol.

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