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Idolatry is the universal human tendency to love or value something or someone more in a way that hinders the love and trust we should have for God. It is an attempt by human beings to grab the glory of God for themselves by working to accomplish something only God has the power to do. Pastor Tim Killer says that “anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give, that is what you worship”. Idolatry can put on such an appealing and attractive face but very destructive in the long-term. Idolatry is deceitful and devastating to people, to relationships and the community in general. God in his holy word warned his covenant people against idol worship, “3 You shall have no other gods before me.4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below”.

According to Brian Evans, some common modern day idols include PLEASURE. This idol takes in drugs, pornography, over eating and activities that take time away from your time with God. The second is SELF-IMAGE. This idol takes in fear of man, slander and gossip, uncontrolled spending and coveting. Thirdly is the idol of FAMILY or CHILDREN. This is especially seen when one places people in the place of God. Fourthly is MONEY and POSSESSIONS, finding security in such things as a large bank account, large wallets, large homes, and so on.  In his letter to Colossians Paul says “5put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry”.

In 1 Kings Chapter 18, we read about the man of God Elijah and the prophets of Baal. This encounter takes place during the trying times of King Ahab's reign in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Ahab's wife Jezebel was a zealous worshipper of Baal, the Canaanite god of rain and fertility. Her mission was to replace the worship of YAHWEH with Baal and so persecuted the worshippers of Yahweh with passion. Many Israelites found it easier to identify with an idol they could see than God whom they could not see. Elijah went to great lengths to prove to Israel and the Baal world that YAHWEH was God. He seized the opportunity to expose the impotence of Baal and thereby show the futility and emptiness of idolatry.  The first thing Elijah challenged the people on is their indecisiveness. “How long will you falter between two opinions” (1 Kings 18:21). The people were divided between the commitment to God and idolatrous cult of Baal. Having a heart for God but fearing the persecution by the queen. James contends that a double minded person is unstable and should not expect anything from God (James 1:8, see also Mathew 6:24, Mathew 12:30).

Secondly he called their attention to the question of time. “How long” do you have to go through this (confusion, trouble, difficulty) before you decide who to follow. The writer to Hebrews says “7 … Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts …” (Hebrews 3:7-8). Thirdly Elijah addresses the question of truth. His conviction which he puts across to the people is that both paths (God and the cult of Baal) cannot be right. One results to life, peace and prosperity (God), the other in cursing, death and destruction (Baal cult). He is calling their eyes to be opened to reality and stop living a lie and pursuing falsehood. Finally, when challenged and faced with truth, the entire audience was speechless. The truth of God's word remains sure and there is no room for self-justification. You either choose to believe and accept God's truth as revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures, or forever get lost in the path of delusions and emptiness known as idolatry.
Genuine faith in God feeds a life which acknowledges that the LORD Is GOD and he is the manager of our lives and not the other way round. As put very clearly in Elijah's story, Idolatry is a powerless pursuit, God controls the weather and everything else in the whole universe, and therefore only He should be worshipped and forever trusted. As a church we have an opportunity to shape the current generation and those that will follow for better by the actions we take and the lives we live.

Pastor's Weekly Corner

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Lavington United Church was founded in 1960 through a joint effort of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Methodist Church of Kenya (MCK) and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA) as a community church to minister to the Lavington community. <<Read full History>>

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