“For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ … And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.” Hosea 2:5b, 8 (ESV)
In the Old Testament, God occasionally used dramatic examples from real life to illustrate how Israel had abandoned Him and worshipped idols. One of those real life examples was the marriage of Hosea. God told Hosea to marry a woman who had a predilection to seek multiple lovers, just as Israel had a predilection to seek pagan gods.
We do the same thing today…except our gods are less obvious.
When we satisfy our God-placed needs for love, worth, and impact with anything apart from Christ, we have created an idol.
We become dependent upon that idol and thus are captive to it.
Thomas Merton, in New Seeds of Contemplation, writes: “For how can I receive the seeds of freedom if I am in love with slavery and how can I cherish the desire of God if I am filled with another and an opposite desire?”
If I am superficially meeting my God-placed needs apart from Christ, I will not feel drawn to Him. Using the analogy Jesus uses in John, I will not be thirsty.
If I am not thirsty…I will not go to Him to drink.
As I drink from my idols…my thirst lessens…but is not deeply quenched. That’s because the rich and abundant life is only found by taking our thirst to God. To do that, we must first abandon our idols. To abandon our idols…we must identify them…and we identify our idols by investigating how we meet our need for love, worth and impact.
For instance, a common idol in medicine is to derive our sense of worth from what we do…rather than who we are…His son or daughter.
Take some time to reflect on how you meet your God-placed needs…and remember…it is God who lavishes on us what we truly need.
Prayer: Lord, show me my idols and help me turn from them to You!