July 28th Weekly Meditation
Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and worshiped the Baals; and they abandoned the LORD, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; they followed other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were all around them, and bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. (Judges 2:11-12)
Oh, those "other gods." They are just so damn appealing, so seductive, so god-like.
Those "other gods" promise wealth and ease and all we have to do is be selfish and greedy and turn away from others. That is so much better than our demanding God who insists on compassion and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Those "other gods" seduce us with power and might and convince us that once we have achieved our goals we will be able to make the world a better place. It seems silly to listen to our demanding God who calls us to love even our enemies and, heaven forbid, turn the other cheek.
Those "other gods" tell us that if it feels good, do it. After all, you're not hurting anyone, well, at least not that you know of. What kind of God would want us to first feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the wounded, visit the lonely and work for justice for all?
The book of Judges is full of "other gods." It is set shortly after the Israelites settled into the Promised Land after their generation-long wandering through the wilderness. The story is simple.
The people slowly turn away from YHW, their God, and turn to other gods.
Bad things happen.
God appoints a "Judge" to get them back on track and things get better.
Repeat. And repeat. And repeat.
Why does the story keep repeating? Because "other gods" are awfully tempting.
There are many "other gods" to choose from. Wealth, power, fame. Security, ease, busy-ness. Politics, ideology, even our own self. Whatever we put first in our lives, whatever we organize our worlds around, whatever we are willing to sacrifice ourselves to, that is our god. And like the Israelites long ago we must be on our guard so that those "other gods" cannot wear us down and work their way into our lives. We must be vigilant and put God, our One, True God, first.
When we do, we will find those "other gods" are not quite as appealing as they seem and our God's commands are not nearly so burdensome. As we stay faithful to the God of Jesus Christ, we begin to find the world we have always dreamed of, our own Promised Land.
Worship This Week
Thursday, July 30, 6:30pm, on the north sidewalk
Sunday, August 2, 9am in the Peace Garden and on Facebook Live
This Week: Something More
If you choose to join us in person, please wear a mask and practice social distancing
Helen Payne has moved into the Willows at Bellevue. To help her in this transition we are encouraging friends to send her cards of well wishes and prayers. Her address is:
101 Auxiliary Drive, Room 406
Bellevue, OH 44811
Don Beck Family Benefit, Sunday, August 9, 3-6pm
Spaghetti by Peans Dinner and Drive-thru Raffle
West St. in front of the elementary school (turn off Rte. 20)
$10 Adults, $5 kids (<12)
For more information, go to Facebook, #coachbeckstrong
Keep In Prayer:
Lorrie Watkins, Addie Weaver, Helen Payne
Our shut-ins: Kate Shelley, Dot Ann Smith, Nora Smith, Helen Payne