So far we have noted that you do not destroy idol’s by a selfishly morbid introspection that attempts to search out idols, surrender everything to God, and then passively sit by and watch him destroy idols. Yet, we did note that God is the one that fundamentally destroys idols. This all begs the question—what then do I do in destroying idols?
For this series I conducted a brief jaunt through the Bible and analyzed every passage that I found on idolatry. I noticed that in the Torah the Israelites were commanded to cast out any idol and any person trying to entice others towards idolatry that was found in their midst. By the time of the Prophets the Israelites for the most part have fallen headlong into idolatry. At this point while the Lord tells them to cast down their idols—he is more direct in His strategy.
The twofold strategy of idol destruction
There are two things that I see the Lord consistently doing through His prophets:
- Exposing the emptiness of idols
- Exalting His fullness at their expense
This seems to me to be the most prominent strategy the Lord employs in conquering idols in the hearts of his people. Psalm 115 is a beautiful picture of the convergence of both of these strategies. In the first section of Psalm 115 the Lord exposes the emptiness and nothingness of idols and those that follow them. In the second section of Psalm 115 he reminds the Israelites of the work and blessing that He has accomplished on their behalf. Whereas the idols are empty to prosper, YHWH is powerful to abundantly bless.
You can see this same thing throughout both the Major Prophets and the Minor Prophets. YHWH is powerful, full, complete, awesome, and sufficient for all of our needs. Idols are empty, futile, nothing, and impotent. Therefore, the prophets consistently preach to the people the fullness of God and the utter stupidity and impotence of idols.
This leads me to believe that the way to join with God in his work of idol destruction is to actively preach the gospel to ourselves. As we preach the gospel to ourselves and to our idols we are reminded first that we are in His hands and no idol is powerful enough to pluck us from those mighty hands. Secondly, we shame our idols. We mock them. We load them down with weight that only the Lord can bear. Then they topple. Thirdly (perhaps simultaneously) we remind ourselves of the sufficiency of God. In Jesus we have everything we need for life and godliness. In Him dwells the fullness of God and we are hidden in that fullness.
Rather than focusing on my inadequacy or my shameful lust after idols I instead preach the fullness of the gospel to myself and my tantalizing idol. I expose the idol and I exalt the Lord. Somewhere along the way the magnificence of the Lord wins the day and Dagon has no hope but to topple before the Mighty King Jesus.
I want to make this even more practical. I hope to do that in Part 6…