There was one (or maybe three) questions that motivated this series. Does Scripture encourage us to “idol search”? Underneath that question is the overarching question: who is responsible for idol destruction? Is it God alone? Is it me? Is it a little bit of God and a little bit of me? How are idols to be destroyed? (Okay, maybe that is a little more than one…or three…questions).
As I have studied idolatry and the biblical battle against it I have come to conclude with Christopher Wright that, “the conflict with the gods is a conflict waged by God for us, not a conflict waged by us for God”. Wright continues:
To be sure, the people of God are involved in spiritual warfare, as countless texts in both testaments testify. However, it is assuredly not the case that God is waiting anxiously for the day when we finally win the battle for him and the heavens can applaud our victory…No, the overwhelming emphasis of the Bible is that we are the ones who wait in hope for the day when God defeats all the enemies of God and his people, and then we will celebrate God’s victory along with angels, archangels and all the company of heaven. Indeed in the company of heaven we already celebrate the victory of the cross and resurrection of Christ, the Easter victory that anticipates the final destruction of all God’s enemies. (Wright, The Mission of God, 178)
It seems to me that before we begin talking about our role in searching out, destroying, fleeing, and fighting against idolatry we need to seriously take into account that Jesus Christ came to “destroy the works of the devil”. God is bent on overturning darkness and casting down every god that really is no god. God is a jealous God and this is a good thing.
This means that fundamental to our fight against idolatry is a firm belief that the glittery idol that seeks to entice us is an already conquered sham. Yes this idol may still shine and taunt you with its mock glamour but someday it will be fully exposed for the nothing it really is.
Knowing that the battle is the Lord’s helps us to fight in the right way. It keeps us from fighting idols to secure our redemption or to accomplish acceptance. It helps us to see that the Lord of glory is already fighting (indeed has fought) for us and this is His work of idol-smashing and not fundamentally ours.
Since it is God’s battle and his fight do we just passively wait? Is there anything for us to do in this battle against idolatry? These questions we will consider tomorrow.