March 3rd - Post-Modern Idolatry
Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the temple of Dagon and set it by Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod arose early in the morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of the Lord. So, they took Dagon and set it in its place again. And when they arose early the next morning, there was Dagon, fallen on its face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. The head of Dagon and both the palms of its hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon's torso was left of it. Therefore, neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon's house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day. 1 Sam 5:1-5 (NKJV)
We know from the first two of the Ten Commandments that idolatry is a sin. We know that Our God, “The Only God,” will not tolerate the worship of other gods. The people of Ashdod happened to be worshippers of a god that they had named "Dagon." Dagon, looked like a monster from a bad Science-Fiction "B" Movie. Leave it to the sea-going Philistines to come up with a god-monster that was half man and half fish. Anyway, like most superstitious people the Philistines build their god from materials, such as wood and stone, and an overactive imagination.
Dagon flunked his first real test when The Ark ("Yes," the actual Ark that was depicted in the "Raiders of the Lost Ark") was placed before Dagon. During the night something strange happened--Dagon fell on its face--bowing before the Ark. The people of Ashdod put "their god" back into place only to find that the next verse was the same as the first. Only this time they found Dagon bowing before the Ark without a head and hands. No-one rescued Dagon this time--they would not even enter the building where this was all taking place. I guess we all know "who" the real God was!
In a post-modern world, most of us are not as superstitious as the people of Ashdod. We do not believe in idols and gods carved from wood and stone. Does that mean that idolatry is no longer a problem? Maybe we do not struggle with the worship of physical idols; however, anything that comes between us and God, is problematic. The actual idols simply
serve as a focal point to what superstitious people believe in their minds. Is it possible that we can embrace new ideas that become the focal point of post-modern idolatry? The answer is "YES!" The Apostle Paul gave us this sound advice: "Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." 2 Cor 10:5 (NKJV)
Here are some questions that I would like you to consider: “Is there anything in your life more important to you than the pursuit of knowing God?” Secondly, if you believe that the pursuit of God is your top priority, can you verify that in terms of how you spend your time, money and thought life? Is God given the top billing in your life or has your relationship with God been marginalized by a plethora of other pursuits? We need to evaluate ourselves with sober honestly and pray that we never become like the Church of Ephesus that had deserted its first love.
Author’s Note: Post-Modern Idolatry is real—and it is slick in the sense that it can slide right into the center of our lives unnoticed. Most of us are unwilling to give up our faith. We really do believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world. So, the strategy of the Enemy is to move us away from embracing our first love. We don’t actually renounce our faith—we just move on. Other causes become our cause of choice. Other brilliant philosophies become the influence in the way we think. Cultural values begin to shape the way we live. Over time, we claim to be Christians, but Christ is not at the center of who we are. Can you hear me? RJD