“In the time of his distress he (Ahaz) became more faithless to the Lord..For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said ‘Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.’ But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.”
– 2 Chronicles 28:22-23
Oh, Lord- I have more than a little Ahaz in my heart. You, too? When life really gets hard do you look around and make idols of the gods that are working for other people?
I make idols of lots of things. Of Mexican vacations that bring friends back refreshed and relaxed…of Law of Attraction philosophy that ‘brought’ wealth and health to a business colleague…of dream houses with granite countertops and in-ground swimming pools…of size six jeans and 6 min mile splits…of all the things that I want that I don’t have. Of all the things that I want, but that I am not really willing to work for.
So instead of going to God with these desires- instead of seeking first the Kingdom… instead of surrendering my dreams, big and small at the foot of the cross and letting my King work all things for my good- I seek out all the tiny little gods of this world and sacrifice to them.
I sacrifice peace to the god of escapism.
I sacrifice contentment to the god of scarcity.
I sacrifice gratitude to the god of covetousness.
I sacrifice joy to the god of the narcissism.
They are my ruin. They don’t bring life. With each sacrifice, I silence the voice of the true King in my heart, and doesn’t it seem worse when the chips are down? At the very moment when I should be surrendering control to God, at that very moment is when I mostly tightly clench my fists around the desires of my heart and seek out an idol that puts me in control. I wrestle with the Spirit within that quietly asks for surrender…I gag Him with rules and doctrine and drown Him out with loud music and sparkly shoes.
And then, one morning, when my sacrifices have brought weariness, I turn back to Life. I open this love story looking for hope and find a diagnosis for my soul-sickness.
“In the time of his distress, he became more faithless to the Lord…he sacrificed to the gods…that had defeated him.”
Scripture’s truth and application ring over me like a courthouse bell rings over the town square.
Gong…when you were down, you turned to the world.
Gong…you followed their ways to find success.
Gong…you put all these things before me.
Gong…it’s destroying you.
Gong…Come back to me. I will provide for you.
And so I choose to turn today- from all the idols I have created trying to be a ‘better’ person and from the ruin of sacrificing to the world’s little gods and their formulaic systems of success. I choose to listen to the still, small voice that whispers words of grace and love over all the things I would change about my life. I choose to read up on the promises made by a benevolent and compassionate King, the one true King- promises to give me the desires of my heart, to provide for my every need and to never forsake me.
And when I turn, I taste it….I hear it….I see it….I touch and feel it….
“ I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”