Thursday, January 24, 2013

Failed Remedies & False Gods

Today's Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl Book Blog Update
As usual...I'm just mainly putting what Lysa has said in her book with some (very little--actually maybe not at all today) of my own insight/thoughts.
A feeling of emptiness & brokenness will drive a person to seek out all kinds of misguided remedies. The primary remedy can be to look for someone or something that will make you feel loved & significant. It's as if you carry around a little heart-shaped cup & extend it to whatever or whomever you perceive might fill it (ex., education, husband, children, material possessions, job). You ask these things:
Will you fill me up?
Will you right all my wrongs?
Will you fill up my insecurities?
Will you make me feel significant?
The more you offer your emptiness hoping something could fill it up, the more frustrated you feel. I know....just like Lysa, I've been there, done that, & got the t-shirt. And when you are trying to get something anything else to fill your cup & you've said yes to Go, it can make you feel perplexed. Isn't this Christian thing supposed to fix these kinds of issues in my heart? What was I missing?
The reality is no person, possession, profession, or position ever fills the cup of a wounded, empty heart --not Lysa's heart, not my heart, not your heart. It's an emptiness only God can fill. Anything we use as a substitute for God is an idol, a false god. This truth is splashed in vivid color throughout the pages of Scripture. Perhaps the most dramatic story takes place in 1 Kings 18 --the showdown between the prophet Elijah & the 450 of Baal.
Elijah has challenged the people of Israel to choose whom they will serve --the true God or the idol Baal. When they say nothing in response, he throws down the gauntlet to King Ahab & the prophets of Baal. Each side will build an alter, sacrifice a bull, & call on their deity to rain down fire & consume the sacrifice. The deity who responds with fire is the one the people will accept as God. The prophets of Baal go first:
So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered And they danced around the alter they had made.
At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. (1 Kings 18:26-29)
I'm going to reread type that last sentence again: "But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention." It's a vivid picture & a strong warning, & the same response we'll get whenever we try to get our fulfillment from a false god --from anyone or anything apart from the one true God.

The triumphant conclusion to the story is that God sends a consuming bolt of fire that devours Elijah's alter. The people of Israel repent & the prophets of Baal are slaughtered. The one true God --our God-- was made known that day. Our God responded. Our God answered. Our God paid attention. He always does.

It is so tempting to look to things of this world for fulfillment. This notion that worldly things can fulfill is all around us. It's on TV & the focus of countless songs. We can't even go to the grocery store checkout lane without being bombarded with suggestions for a more fulfilling life. A better sex life. A better career. A more beautifully decorated house. The magazines seem so slick, their promises so enticing. And they do bring temporary excitement. But every single thing the world offers is temporary. These fixes can never fill our void long-term.
Stay tuned for the next Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl Book Blog Update...

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