True Religion; July 10, 2017

1 Kings 12:28 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

Jeroboam got advice, but it was entirely humanistic and spat in the face of God. He had logical, human concerns about the loyalty of his people, but his solution was horrible. The fact that it worked, for the most part, is proof of how cultural the people’s religion was. They still weren’t out of the general polytheistic mindset of the age, and certainly didn’t have the image of the omnipotent Creator that Solomon declared at the dedication of the temple. It’s very interesting that Jeroboam chose golden calves as his idols, specifically referencing the exodus, when that was the sort of idol Aaron made while Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Law. The attraction was probably the association of gold with wealth and bulls with virility. Plenty of people today in all nations worship wealth and/or sex! This brings to mind a short movie I watched yesterday that was created by the US to educate American occupation forces in Japan right after WWII. That movie pointed out how the Shinto religion had been hijacked by the militarists as a tool to convince the Japanese people they had a manifest destiny to rule the world, so the task of the occupation was to liberate the people from such twisted thinking. That’s why MacArthur asked for 2000 missionaries (though he only got about 1,000). Religion has been used politically to control people throughout history, which is a total travesty. America, if we read the Founding Fathers correctly, was an attempt to go the other direction, creating a nation that would be appropriate to the worship of the Creator. It was commented that what they came up with was appropriate for a just, moral population, but would fail without that foundation. The problems we have seen and are seeing in America stem precisely from the degradation of that foundation. Today, people who are in rebellion against God won’t rest until their activities aren’t just tolerated but are accepted as normative. Golden calves, anyone?

I have been amazed at the degree to which social norms have changed in my lifetime. Things that would not have been mentioned without horror and/or shame are now regularly presented on TV shows as “completely normal.” In a way I have been complicit, because the Church has failed to stand up against the tide of idolatry and filth – probably because so many church members were attracted to it! I am not to attack people, but I am to stand clearly for what God has laid out for mankind. I am to speak the truth in love and seek to live out that truth in every area of my life. Specifically, when I seek advice I am to be sure it’s Godly, and give the Holy Spirit veto power at every turn. Our plans at this point might seem to have very little to do with morality, but they have a great deal to do with presenting God for who He is. I need to be sure that what we do draws people into God’s kingdom, His family, and doesn’t divert them in any way.

Father thank You for all that You are doing. Thank You for the many reasons to thank and praise You that You pointed out to me yesterday. I pray that all of Your plans, for each individual in this church and for the church as a whole, would be fulfilled on Your schedule in Your way for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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