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The Idols of Babylon

by Don Pedal  
5/28/2010 / Christian Living

Babylon is the home of the hanging gardens and the site of the Tower of Babel.
The city is located on the Mesopotamian plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in modern Iraq. Little remains of the city, which is 55 miles south of Iraq's capital, Baghdad.
The name Babylon is derived from the Hebrew word, babel, referring to the confusion of tongues mentioned in Gen. 11. Scripture tells us that the descendants of Cush and followers of Nimrod founded the city. (Gen.10: 8-10).
The city did not reach its zenith until the rule of Nebuchadnezzar who reigned from 605BC to 538BC. He is credited with building the Hanging Gardens, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Babylonians were worshippers of pagan idols. We think of them as symbols of wealth, luxury and vice, and a symbol of decadence.

When we speak of idols, what are we talking about?
The first commandment given to Moses on Mount Sinai was not to make for ourselves an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or the waters below. We shall not bow down to them or worship them (Exodus 20:4).

You might say, what does this have to do with me? I don't have any idols in my house nor do my family and friends---- or do we?
In my spiritual walk, as I examined my conscience, I always passed quickly over the first commandment, confident that it didn't apply to me in our modern world. No idols in my house, right! As the years went by, and I grew spiritually, a feeling haunted me that maybe the first commandment had more to say about idols than I realized.
The Pope characterized our culture as materialistic and consumer driven. Was that a fair evaluation?

Our media is saturated with creating a materialistic lust for things. Things will solve all our problems. Store shelves are filled with remedies for every ailment from head to toe. Products to look better, smell better, feel more fulfilled etc. We have items to keep us entertained between our busy times. We are starved for quiet time as gadgets keep us in instant contact with each other. We are constantly being stimulated to want more and more, bigger, better and faster.

Our young people grow up and believe they deserve everything their parents have worked for many years and they deserve it now! After all isn't that the American dream? That's what our culture is telling them all the time.
If you can't afford it there is always easy credit. You can pay tomorrow or next year.
We become very righteous about our desires and even our right to have our needs satisfied now.
Cars, houses, boats --- Toys, Is it possible these things could become idols?

What is idolatry?
One dictionary defines idolatry as "excessive
undiscerning admiration or veneration, blind infatuation. To love or admire blindly or to excess", lust for money, power, things, prestige or maybe a person or position. Anything that we put before God in importance is idolatry. Wow, that's a profound statement!

What are some of our idols?
Could that include my family? Yes it does. We do not own our children or our spouse. They are created by God, belong to Him and are only loaned to us. It is a privilege and a trust to be a partner with God and our spouse in the creation of our children and be a part of their lives.

How about my possessions? After all, I've got to live, you know. Yes it does. Jesus said that, if we put God first, all these other things would be added also ( Matt. 6:31 - 33).
We move into bigger houses with bigger garages, bigger closets, sheds and outer buildings to store more of our stuff. Jesus said that our Father knows we need things even before we ask.
He asks that we withhold nothing from Him. In reality, it's all His anyway, isn't it?

What about my time? First of all, the Lord wants us to have a personal relationship with Him, daily.
This involves our attention and devotion, which, of course, involves our time. Are we faithful in giving Him that quality time or do we withhold it because we are so busy --- busy with the important things in our life? Are we so busy serving Him that we don't have time for intimate fellowship and to hear His quiet voice? Do we give Him a few scraps of our life or maybe none at all until Sunday?
Are we quite content, on Sunday, to attend service and then hurry on our way towards another hectic week? It's funny but we can always find time for television, internet, ballgame etc. but little for Him.

Then there's money, the symbol of status and worth. It's the symbol of our talents, skills and our achievements in life. It's the common gauge that shows us who or what is important in life. Whether we have little of it or much, it is the one thing that commands our attention. How can we save it, preserve it, make it grow etc.
You've heard it said, "Money is the root of all evil". Actually the saying is, "The love of money is the root of all evil". Money in itself is amoral. It is neither good nor bad in itself. Money can be of great benefit when used wisely, such as creating goods, services, jobs and helping others. When it becomes an idol it corrupts, destroys lives and personal integrity.
So many times we think, "If we only had a lot of money we would finally be happy. Think of all the good we would do". The Lord, in His wisdom, knows that, to some of us, money could become an idol and damage us spiritually. The Lord said that He would withhold no good thing from those whose walk is blameless. (Psalm 84:11). Could this be one reason that some of us may never be wealthy? That could be a blessing.

Approval of others (people pleasers)
How could that be an idol?
Ask yourself, during conversations, have I ever left out something, or "watered it down" in matters that concerned God's revealed truth, in order to be more compassionate, tolerant or
Have I ever been silent when my faith has been challenged by another, in order to avoid confrontation, and show him that I am tolerant of all beliefs and imply that all roads lead to the same place? Our Lord was never tolerant of sin or error.
Have I ever put a person second to God in an effort to gain their approval or love?

One of the most subtle idols to seep into our lives is busyness. We can actually become proud of our busyness. We fret about how to achieve and accomplish goals and fill our time with productiveness. We plan how to be more efficient ---- rushing about.
Do we ever evaluate the results of all this activity? What have we actually accomplished?
Are these accomplishments, or only busyness?
Busyness is one of the enemy's chief weapons against us in our modern culture. This is true, especially here in America, where we value accomplishment and individuality so highly.
By being distracted with activity, we sometimes sacrifice our spiritual life.
We need to come before the Lord and examine our work to see if it is part of His plan for our life, or preventing us from using the spiritual gifts He has given us. To the world, our work may look wonderful, but to the Lord it may fall far short of His plan for our life.
The tree is judged by the fruit it bears. What fruit are we producing? Is it to God's
glory or ours?

As you can see, there are many things in our life that can become "idols".
We are not always aware of them. They are creeping things that seep into our life.
How can we combat these idols?
We must first have our quiet time before the Lord. It is a time to reflect on our lives and listen to His small quiet voice speaking to us as we take our plans to Him. Ask ourselves," Does this work use the spiritual gifts we have received"? Is the Lord blessing and anointing our work?
When we are convinced we are in His will, we need to concentrate our efforts in the areas that are blessed. This may require us to politely say "no" to other opportunities to serve that might distract us from our ministry. We must use our spiritual gifts to our utmost as the Lord enables and blesses us to serve Him. As we daily draw closer to Him, He will purify our lives of idols and enhance and strengthen our spiritual gifts to His glory.

As a senior citizen, I am dedicated to serving the Lord through sharing my experiences and insights with other believers. My primary focus is upon being an disciple of Jesus and, in being one, I can help others to find their spiritual way also.
This article is original and not copywrited

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