Tuesday, 30 October 2012

When Blessings Become Idols

Recently, God has been reminding me about the real value of the things in my life. It is a lesson that He has taught me many times, but I still haven't grasped it!

What are blessings?

Friends, family, material success, are all blessings that God has lavished upon us. While the world may view these everyday things with indifference, the Christian very well knows they're good gifts that God alone can give. Israel experienced this like no other nation ever has; victorious battles against nations double their size, prosperity during the most parched of times, name it!

Blessings are the little things in life we long and pray for. The privileges that embellish our lives to make it that one bit sweeter. 

Why does God bless us?

Psalm 103:17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children's children 

Psalm 1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in path of sinners...

...well you get the gist! Numerous verses in the Bible answer the above question...the list would practically be endless!

He is a good God. He loves those who fear and seek Him and thus bestows His grace and mercy on them. We cannot earn blessings, we neither deserve them; He blesses purely because He loves. The purpose of the blessings He bestows are to lead us to trust Him on everything else with a spirit of gratitude i.e. bring us closer to Him.

Where does the problem arise?

The spirit of complacency? Self sufficiency? Pride?

Back to Israel...in the book of 'Hosea', we see what often happens to our hearts when we are blessed. Although Israel enjoyed God's mercies, goodness and riches, they lost their focus - they drifted away from God. The very things that were designed to bring them closer to Him had become a hindrance as they forgot where these originate from. Anything that comes between us and God is an 'idol', thus the blessing is now an 'idol'. Israel turned her back to the one true God and sought worthless idols and the help of fellow nations, instead of God.

[Food for thought: I can't help but relate it to creation. The created world around us, nature in all its splendor, has been 'designed' to bring us closer to God by reminding us of His presence. However, sadly, humanity uses that very blessing to deny His existence.]

God's Solution

What follows in Hosea is a beautiful love story; a King seeking His worthless adulterous wife just because He loves her. (Read Hosea 10)

How does He do it?

He does it by taking away the 'blessings'. It might seem harsh, however isn't it harsher for Him to leave us in our sinful, Godless state that is headed for hell?

My friend Bea put it this way...

A father gives his son a toy because he loves him. It makes the father happy to see his son play and enjoy the gift. However, eventually, the son ONLY plays with his toy. He stops spending time with the father. The gift now has become a hindrance. In desperate measure to nurture his relationship with his son, the father will have to remove the toy! He doesn't want to, but has to, because of what is more important.

It is right to be grateful for the blessings God has placed in our life. Let us cherish them. However, let us ensure that we ALWAYS remember that they are 'good gifts' given to us by the Father. Blessings are temporary, however God alone can give us lasting peace and joy. Make sure you don't place the blessings before God Himself; remember that He'll do anything to get His place in your life (even if that means removing the blessing).
This is an area that I struggle with, but I know that God will empower me to overcome it. Let us put God first and make sure we don't turn His blessings into our idols.