Do you know what an idol is? This is very hard to define in our culture. When we hear about idols we think about biblical figures, like Baal, or Asherah images .. We think of statutes that are big and can be easily seen openly..or we think of the popular show that’s been named American “Idols”, what a name!
- An idol is an image of a god, used for worship.
- Any object of ardent or excessive devotion or worship.
- A false notion or idea that causes errors in thinking or reasoning.
These are working “webster” definitions, I didn’t make them up myself.
So what is this saying… Our job could be our idol.. We could be so devoted to our job that nothing else can come before it.. I regret to say, our marriage, or our children could be our idol.. So you will know that this is not only some evil thing.. it could be that tv show, or that food that we just have to have every day..Sometimes it is something good, but that thing in itself has been elevated over God and you make all your decisions based on it and not God..
I think this is worth thinking about!
In my text I read this morning, Gen. 35:1-4 I saw a classic example.. Jake has been through so much.. First God told him to leave the place his mother and father sent him on the run from his brother.. he meets God on the way to this place and makes a promise to Him, that if God bought him back to that place he would certainly make Him his God.. Now the time has come, but it is not until after so many struggles in the life of Jacob… he is met by Laban who has come to harm him… But God protected him, he had tried to send word to his brother to make peace and Esau came at him with 400 men, we believe it was an intent to kill the man, all in the same breath.. He’s just realized God protected him from Laban, also now Esau, he meets him in peace, and now.. Well, ch. 34 his daughter is raped and the whole chapter is dedicated to this..
Now, after all this.. God appears to Jake… and tells him to go back to that first place he met with God. He named that place Bethel, and God wanted him to live there.. Bethel means “the house of God”.. But before he could go to the house of God he would have to do something, actually 3 things
#1. Get rid of the idols/strange or foreign gods
#2. clean themselves
#3. Change their clothes
.. it happens in these verses.. after he has an encounter w/ God and realizes all God has done for him.. He is urged or impressed to make everyone else not only in his household but also who were with him, get rid of their strange/foreign gods.. Or Idols.. You see idols can take up a very subtle place in our hearts.. For these people the bible says they gave Jacob their earrings and jewelry… now doesn’t that strike a cord.. it was obvious Rachel had to give up her fathers idol she stole from his house, that hadn’t been addressed before now.
In all essence Jacob is saying to his household and all that were with him.. As for me and my house not only are we going to serve God outwardly, we are going to clean this house, inside out. You are not going to just say you serve God.. I made a promise and I am keeping it, for HIM idols are forbidden, He has kept me, I have power over my house, Get rid of it! And also clean yourself up.. and change your clothes.. it’s time to go into a new era…
Jacob hid these things under a tree there is Shechem.. before they ever left. I could imagine there were the woman of that place and also the children since Simeon and Levi only killed all the men and took all the loot.. they had all this crap among them and they had to get rid of it all…
in our hearts I believe we will never truly be able to move into the house of God and stay there unless we get down to the issues that we have put before God and in our hearts we bury them..
“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living?”
A choice must be made to bury the idols if you will serve the Lord!