Thursday, October 24, 2013

In the Presence of Idols - A Story

But because they served them in the presence of their idols and made the people of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord. (Ezekiel 44:12 NIV)

I have prayed that God would weed out the idols in my life and in my husband’s so that we would not serve our children in the presence of idols and lead them into sin. God has been faithful to do just that. There are a few stories I could share with you but this one so clearly depicts how we can blindly lead our children into sin by serving them in the presence of our idols.  This particular story is about an idol in my husband’s heart; so it is with his permission that I share this story.

For years my husband served the idol of appearance and status, wanting to appear as something more than he really was.  This idol demanded from him; he lied for it, and sacrificed for it.  In the end it made him into something less, he lost the things he really wanted and he was left still wanting.  By God’s love and through His word The Lord revealed this idol to my husband.  The idol was torn down and God was put on the throne in its place. The enemy is sneaky, though, always trying to squirm his way back into our hearts.

My husband is self-employed and, for the most part, works by himself. But whenever he answers the phone and is talking to a customer making appointments you would never know that, everything is “we” not “I”.  My kids have called him out on this many times.  They have asked him why he says, “we.” They have even asked ‘why he is lying’?  But his response was that it made his business look bigger.

Do you see what was happening?  The same old idol was trying to creep in, camouflaging itself as acceptable, because it was “better for business.”  If it wasn’t enough for our kids to point it out to us, God had to point it out to me in my own quiet time through the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 4:32 - 5: 1-10). 

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 5:1, 2 )

In Acts chapter 4 it tells how in the first church some people would sell land or houses and give it to the apostles to give to those in need. It even mentions one man by name:

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), (Acts 4:36 NIV)

This man stands out as one who is probably close to the apostles, has a friendship with them, maybe even some leadership among the people. Now for a person who desires to be more than they really are they may look at this man and think, I want to be in leadership or friends with the disciples. I want to be respected. That man Joseph is where I want to be. I must do what he did. It makes sense.  So he goes and sells a piece of his property, keeps back some of the money for himself, and gives the rest to the church.

But what Ananias missed was the heart of the man who sold his property to give the money to the church.  This man was not doing it to appear more than he really was, he did it out of who he already was.  No one was asking Ananias to be more than he really was but he wanted to appear that he was and he did it with his “wife’s full knowledge”.

So here I am, the wife with full knowledge, listening to my husband trying to appear to be more than he really is.  Listening to my children call daddy out on it regularly.  I most definitely felt the conviction to speak to my husband.  And if you are familiar with the story of Ananias and Sapphira you know that it does not end well for them.

I was the wife with full knowledge.  Full knowledge of my husbands past idol trying to creep up on him, full knowledge that I was a participant in this serving of the idol because I had dismissed it, and that we were serving our children in the presence of that idol.  We are always calling our children out on lying and give the most severe discipline for it. Yet here we were…leading them astray by telling them, don’t lie, but it’s ok to lie if it is “better for business”.

By the grace of God, first in revealing our sin, then allowing our children to hear our apologies and see our repentance, our children may have been spared the damage that could have so easily come from their parents serving them in the presence of idols.  I have felt so heavy a prayer in my heart so similar to that of David’s in 2 Samuel 24:17:

When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the Lord, “I have sinned; I, the shepherd, have done wrong. These are but sheep. What have they done? Let your hand fall on me and my family.” (2 Samuel 24:17 NIV)

Father, my heart is heavy.  It fears leading my children in the presence of idols. I pray that you would reveal any idols in my heart, uproot them, tear them down.  May You alone reign on the throne of my heart.  Protect my children.  Help me to teach them and to lead them always toward you.

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1 comment:

  1. Courtney that was so beautifully written... I think sometimes these idols can so easily go unnoticed and without a close relationship with the Lord, the enemy knows how to make those idols appear not so bad. Thank you for reminding us to pay close attention especially since our little ones lives are at stake...