Although I rarely see the program on television anymore, I absolutely love watching Gilligan’s Island. Something about Gilligan makes me laugh. Did you ever notice that somehow they always had enough food and their clothes never wore out? And despite the fact that various guests appeared on their program from week to week, they never escaped the island.
From time to time, Gilligan and his friends were confronted by voodoo, headhunters, and witch doctors. Scariest of all were the Tiki idols with magical powers. They terrified Gilligan.
In today’s reading, we’re going to explore the power of idols to change us into mysterious characters.
Please join me!
1 Samuel 22:1-23:29
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
1 Samuel 22:1-23:29. The locations where David chose to hide from Saul were very intentional. By hiding in Moab, David was likely hoping that the people would look favorably on him because he was part Moabite—remember, his grandmother Ruth was from Moab. He then moved to the forest of Hereth (close to Hebron) in Judah, which offered him protection by people of his own tribe and a little distance between him and Jerusalem.
Next, we read that Saul ordered the killing of all the priests (and their familes) at Nob, because Ahimelech helped David. This action was so outrageous that Saul’s own men refused to participate, except for Doeg the Edomite. By virtue of his name, we know that Doeg wasn’t an Israelite, so he probably held few if any religious convictions. By ordering the wholesale execution of an entire city of priests and their families, Saul likely alienated himself from a large contingent of priests across Israel. Slowly, Saul was losing his grip on Israel while endearing David to the people.
Later we read that David moved toward the desert of Ziph, which is further south of Jerusalem and full of canyons where he and his men could hide. Strangely enough, Saul and his men couldn’t find David, yet Jonathan did.
John 10:1-21. One of the ways I glean from a Scripture passage is by asking, “What does this passage tell me about Jesus?” Here’s what our reading from John tells me about Jesus:
- Jesus calls his sheep by name. He knows my name!
- Jesus’ sheep belong to him.
- Jesus leads his sheep—and they follow.
- Jesus is the protector of his sheep.
- Jesus’ intent on coming to earth is to give us an abundant life.
- Jesus is the good shepherd, not the bad shepherd.
- Jesus never abandons his sheep, as opposed to the hired hand.
- Jesus knows his sheep and his sheep know him.
- Jesus lays down his life for his sheep.
- Jesus has other sheep too, who abide in other flocks.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
All too often when I read about idols the Bible, I think of little wooden statues of odd-looking people or animals. However, idolatry is as much of a problem in our society today as it was in the time of the psalmist.
In Psalm 115:2–8 of today’s reading, the psalmist describes the futility of idol worship:
2 Why do the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
3 Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
4 But their idols are silver and gold,
made by the hands of men.
5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but they cannot see;
6 they have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but they cannot smell;
7 they have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but they cannot walk;
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
8 Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
Basically, the psalmist is saying, idols do nothing for us, so why trust in them?
So what constitutes an idol for you and me? Anyone and anything apart from God whom we look to in order to find peace, happiness, and significance.
If you still aren’t sure what might be identified as a potential idol, look at how you spend your money and your time.
For me, I wrestle with allowing material possessions to be an idol. A month ago, I purchased an iPhone, subconsciously assuming that it would improve my life. It hasn’t. Later this week I’m purchasing a new (used) vehicle because I’m giving my old car to my daughter. Yet I must continue reminding myself that a new vehicle will fill the hole in my heart as much as an iPhone.
The most revealing verse in our reading above—to me at least—is verse 8: “Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”
We become what we worship.
If we want to become more like Jesus, then we must make him the object of our worship and trust him completely to bring us the peace, happiness, and significance that we desire.
I certainly don’t want to resemble a stupid cell phone!
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- Who was your favorite cast member on Gilligan’s island? Why?
- What idols tempt you? How effective have they been at bringing you peace, happiness, and significance?
- What does John 10:1-21 tell you about Jesus? How does it encourage you?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.