No Idol Words
“O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.” – Hosea 14:8
God may not have much to do with idols, but I sure do. (Please don’t tell my congregation.) No, I don’t worship Zeus, Athena, or Thor. No statues of Baal adorn my living room nor is there a golden calf in my front yard. I love creation—mountains, mesas, plants, rivers–but I don’t worship them. I’m a rational, 21st century, United Church of Christ kind of person.
Yet if I’m honest, I can turn all kinds of things into idols. Here are a couple of examples:
1. The idol of your approval. (Be honest—is this reflection okay? How does it rate with other Devotionals? What about my picture at the bottom? Should I have used one from younger days? Touched this one up? What do you really think about me—my writing, my ministry, my being?)
2. The idol of worry–about the future or the present, about the church or my family, my friends, this nation, the world. Sometimes I can worry about being worried.
Long ago, when Ephraim (aka Israel) dealt with similar idols, the Prophet Hosea gave voice to the one true God. He reminded the people of the One who answered and looked after them, something none of their idols could or would do.
Neither will ours. When our idols of pride or need for approval, our idols of fear or worry get the best of us, may we remember God’s promise through the prophet: “It is I who answer and look after you.” No idle words, my friends.
Living God, help us to trust that you are indeed the One who answers and looks after all of us. Amen.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Part 1 and Mark Part 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.