In this season of resolutions and self-help, where we focus so heavily on ourselves, let’s delve into idolatry - putting something (or someone) else in the place of God.
These seven weeks are brought to you by Pastor Ricky Jacob, who serves the Native community of Winnebago, Nebraska.
Greetings to you in the Name of our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
I begin today with these quotes from Lockwood: “What a burden it is to have to secure my earthly wellbeing by the strength of my own arm!” (245)
“[The] trust in human strength and earthly power has two inevitable consequences: futility and fear. When we transfer our trust from God to his creatures, our fear gets displaced to his creatures as well. When our fear, love, and trust are in the LORD, he says, "Fear not" (Matthew 10:28-31), and takes all our fears away. Yet without this confidence in him, our stance toward the rest of creation will always be fearful. Fear is the natural result of trusting in the uncertain things of this world, and performance anxiety flows predictably from trusting inner own unreliable performance…
“When we rely on ourselves to provide for our needs, this leads to arrogance when things are going well. We then pat ourselves on the the back for our diligence or wisdom. Yet when trouble comes this pride quickly turns to fear and dismay.
“Idolaters have good reason to be anxious, since their idolatry is futile. Those who trust in human strength ultimately will come to ruin, and their idols will fail them when they need them most. Luther said 'it requires more toil to get to hell than into heaven.’ Idols wear us out by demanding that we serve them, and then reward us badly by giving us misery and vexation, and failing us in our hour of need.” (49-50)
I end with the quote of Lockwood with which I began: “What a burden it is to have to secure my earthly wellbeing by the strength of my own arm!” (245). But how liberating to know that God the Father will provide for me, and to trust in his power.
This has been Pastor Ricky Jacob of Jesus Our Savior Lutheran Church and preschool, of Winnebago. I close with the words from the third chapter of Paul's second letter to the saints at Corinth: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our sufficiency is from God" [2nd Corinthians 3:5 NIV].