Thursday, April 22, 2021
We are all fixers. We all believe, to varying degrees, that we have the answers. We seek to influence people with our understanding because we believe our way is the best way. We take public stands on issues and become vocal about the correctness of our views, even to the point of condemning the views of others. We invest massive amounts of intellectual energy into proving our positions. There is a deep need in all of us to validate ourselves, and we do it by making sure that others know we are right. In essence, we have declared ourselves to be God.
The prophet Hosea in the Old Testament spoke to this very issue. It was during an historical period in Israel when the nation was deeply distressed. They were spiritually and morally bankrupt. Four kings had been assassinated by their successors. Sin was rampant, and people had turned to worshipping false gods. Yet Hosea told the people that restoration was possible if the people would repent and turn back to God.
In Hosea’s final message to the people, he reminds us of the biggest idol we all have. It is the hardest idol to tear down. It is the idol of trusting ourselves. Here are God’s words to His people.
Hosea 14:3 “…we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands.”
Recently I had the opportunity to help someone recognize this idol in their own life. He made it clear that he could not accept a gift from anyone. Anything of lasting value in his life had to be done by the work of his own hands. I praise God that he recognized this as an idol that kept him from the gift of salvation, and he repented.
Then I wondered, for myself and for all of you, what works of our hands do we still worshipped as a god?
Have your political views and activism become the way you validate yourself? Then they are your god.
Has your career become the way you earn acceptance with others and declare yourself good? Then it is your god.
Are your financial resources and your possessions the way you measure success? Then they are your god.
Is your pursuit of pleasure the way you compensate for your sense of worthlessness? Then it is your god.
Do you seek to control every aspect of your life because you are the master of your own destiny? Then you are your own god.
It’s no wonder our nation is decaying. The people who make up the nation have replaced the One True God with the work of their own hands. So long as we believe that we can fix it, we will continue to decay and eventually die. Our only hope is that each of us repents of our idolatry and returns to God through Jesus Christ.
No longer will we call the works of our hands our god. We repent of self-fulfillment, self-validation, self-acceptance, and self-worth. No longer will they be our gods. And when we repent, God will restore. He says, “I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.” (Hosea 14:4)