Idolatry; April 27, 2021

Judges 6:10 “I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”

Verses seven and eight record that “When the Israelites cried to the Lord because of Midian, he sent them a prophet.” They were probably all excited and happy, because here was evidence that the Lord had heard them. However, the message was not what they wanted to hear! This particular prophet remains anonymous, but his message was essentially repeated almost countless times throughout the history of the descendants of Abraham: “You messed up, treating other gods as though they were as real as I am.” The NIV here says “worship,” but the Japanese says “fear,” probably in line with the Hebrew. Throughout the Old Testament there is a lot of conflation between those two terms that we consider to be very different. Religion in those days had a lot of what today we would call superstition, and people did religious things to “avoid angering the gods.” Actually, the majority of Shinto teaching is along those lines, and superstition is hardly extinct in the West, either. In any case, fearing/worshiping any “deity” other than the Creator is obviously a no-no. Right now we are in the middle of an illustration of that truth that few if any people would think of as religious, but it is: our response to COVID-19. People, fearing infection, superstitiously wear masks that several studies have shown are of dubious value and have many negatives. They wait anxiously on the pronouncements of the “priests” in the medical and media communities, placing restrictions on their own activities that could certainly be described as religious. That’s not at all to say that the virus isn’t real, but it is to say that the response to it has left logic far behind. God alone is to be feared and worshiped!

My feelings in this area were confirmed when the school where I teach recently stated, when I asked, that even if I am vaccinated they will expect me to continue to wear a mask/face shield at school. I teach Medical English, Vocal Production, and Pronunciation. Masks, on me and on my students, directly interfere with that. If vaccination doesn’t liberate me from masking, why do it? On top of that, though I am in the “susceptible” group because of my age, my students are almost all in the category of people who have essentially nothing to be anxious about at all! I find myself saddened, disgusted or even angered at young children being forced to be masked, or adults outdoors, with no one close to them, still being masked. That is superstition, and NOT science. The devil is very crafty, and he uses every trick he can think of to distract us from God, and from fearing Him alone. I am not to run around berating people for wearing masks. That would be as foolish as the people who berate others for not wearing masks. I am to speak the truth in love as God gives opportunity, and I am to be sure that my own focus is on the Lord in grateful obedience.

Well, Father, I certainly didn’t expect to go off on that tirade when I started my devotions! Thank You for the many ways You speak to us, even when they aren’t expected. Help me hear You clearly, not being foolish but living as a good steward of all You have given me, including my body, my health, and my time, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

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