I had a great conversation with some one close to me recently. We were talking about things we turn to for comfort. My thought here is this, when I turn to something for comfort, peace, identity etc, I am allowing that thing to take the place of one of the roles that God wants to play in my life. Let me get a little biblical on you, I call this an Idol. Now - important - I am not accusing anyone of worshiping their favorite comfort food, what I am saying is that I see in myself the worldly desire to turn to worldly "things" for comfort instead of God. The reason I use the term Idol is not because I grab my cup of Starbucks, pray to it and then pour the contents of this holy chalice down my throat as a drink offering pleasing to the Stars of Buck, but because of the "relevant" definition I have of an idol.
In the old testament an idol was usually something that was hand made to represent an inferior God. I think in most cases, the Jews would build these idols not in opposition to God but to serve a felt need that they would not allow God to meet. They felt God was less personal and worshiping a lesser god as well as the True God would meet the need of comfort that the more distant and omniscient God seemed to be unable to provide. Before we start bashing the Israelites for their week interpretation of God, I can totally relate! Think about the head coach of your sports team, or the top boss at the top of the organization, or even the President. How approachable are they? Wouldn't we rather approach someone a little closer to our stature?
Okay, I am getting off topic. What I am getting at here is that Idols in the old testament distracted the Israelites from their true God that created them, set them apart and protected them. Can you imagine being a father and watching your son go play catch with his friends Dad every week instead of you? You buy him the mitt, the ball, you make a baseball diamond in your back yard, but your son would rather go to the ally and play catch with some other "dad" every week.
Idols are distractions from God. One person's idol may be TV and another persons may be Cheesecake. OK, you think that is too week, how about this one. You had a tough day at work, the kids are yelling and the spouse is on your case - where do you turn? That may be your idol. Is it Alcohol? Pornography? Another Relationship? Food? Work? ....
Living here in Costa Rica, I can see my "Idols" so much more clearly than when I lived with them in the states. It is a little embarrassing. I think of all the good things that God gave us that Satan likes to turn to idols. Time with the guys, Sports, Working out, and work are all things that have distracted me from God when I allow them too. I have to take the time, submit them to God and keep my focus on Him.
Final statement: This is my view and how I apply old testament scripture to today. I would love to hear about your views on the subject.
Sharing the experience,