1 Samuel 7:3-17 (Part 2) – How Hating Something Can Become Idol Worship

Posted: December 10, 2017 in 09-1 Samuel

1 Samuel 7:3-17 (Part 2 of 3)
Samuel Leads Israel to Victory

Donald Trump has become a god for liberals and anyone who is not white. I know that it is a brash statement but he has become just that for them. And before I proceed, please understand that I am not a fan of Donald Trump. I personally think he is an egotistical, arrogant, vain man who ran for President for no other reason than to accomplish the task, to see if he could win. He never thinks before he speaks and because of that he has lost more allies than he has won during his short time in office.

However, by his very existence in the office of President of the United States, he has become the pariah of the liberal cause. He has become so hated by the liberals that it approaches a god-like status. Liberals blame Trump for everything. If you listen to the liberals on television and they certainly dominate that medium, America is in ruins and that they live in some desperate wasteland that has gone terribly wrong. Trump is to blame for it all. They live and breath hating Trump. If it is raining outside, it is because of some Trump conspiracy. If there is a natural disaster somewhere it is Trump’s fault. Just last night, I was watching Saturday Night Live (SNL) and their opening skit. It opened with a scene with kids visiting Santa and it was all very innocuous as each child sat down on Santa’s lap but the final child was asked what she wanted for Christ and she said “I don’t really want anything for Christmas. I just want everything to be OK.” Then one of the elves bends down and tells that though our country is in shambles right now that one day it will be ok again.” And then she proceed to give a day count of what appeared to be the number of days remaining in Trump’s term as president. To hear the liberals tell it, nothing is right in America. Everything has gone wrong. All the sexual scandals in Washington are Trump’s fault. Black leaders stay away from the opening of a civil rights museum in Jackson, MS yesterday because Trump was there. A star skier on the US Olympic ski team that is favored to win a medal has already come and said if she wins any gold medals in her downhill events that she will not go to the White House if invited (and I bet she would protest if Trump decided not to invite her). It’s gotten to the point that no matter what Trump does it is going to be dissected by the liberals as somehow wrong. The sky is falling. The sky is falling. The sky is falling.

Again, don’t get me wrong. I am not a big fan of Trump. I would have rather the Republicans nominated someone else for me to vote for as President. But, what has changed so drastically since Trump became President. When I wake up on Monday mornings and go to work, I see an economy that has continued to grow and prosper under Trump as much as it did during any Obama years. The economy is percolating rather nicely. NFL football player are still making millions of dollars and even the ones who ride the bench make 10 times what the average American makes. No civil rights laws have been repealed. We still have checks and balance in our three headed monster government (executive, legislative, judicial). We can still buy homes. We still buy gasoline. We can still go to college. We can still live life in the very same we did before Trump was inaugurated. You may not like Trump and may even hate him because he does not watch what he says and he says some politically stupid stuff. The liberals are like little kids who did not get what they wanted at the toy store and are pitching a conniption fit right there in the store for all to see.

The hatred for Trump has reached such god-like status that it does not matter if Trump divorced his wife and became an openly gay man and took a “life partner”, the liberals would say that Trump was mocking them rather than accepting him as one of their own. Trump is a god to them in that they are obsessed with hating him. It is a mob mentality. It’s like when a someone gets accused of a crime, he gets tried in the court of public opinion and becomes a pariah because it the fashionable thing to hate that person for what they think a person has done. Then, we find out later that the person was innocent. It doesn’t matter. The damage is done. The person’s life is ruined. No matter that he was innocent. He is still a social pariah after even being proved innocent.

Trump has become that way for the liberal cause. He is more hated I think Nixon was by the anti-war movement in the late 60’s/early 70’s. He has become an antichrist to the liberals. Whatever is wrong, whatever is ignoble, whatever is false, whatever is horrid, it is Trump’s fault. He is to blame.

Making idols or false gods even negatively is wrong. When we worship things even in a negative way and have let them totally preoccupy our lives, we are sinning. Even hating Donald Trump can become your god. With that thought in my mind, let’s read this passage, 1 Samuel 7:3-17, one more time together right now:

3 Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” 4 So the Israelites got rid of their images of Baal and Ashtoreth and worshiped only the Lord.

5 Then Samuel told them, “Gather all of Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.” 6 So they gathered at Mizpah and, in a great ceremony, drew water from a well and poured it out before the Lord. They also went without food all day and confessed that they had sinned against the Lord. (It was at Mizpah that Samuel became Israel’s judge.)

7 When the Philistine rulers heard that Israel had gathered at Mizpah, they mobilized their army and advanced. The Israelites were badly frightened when they learned that the Philistines were approaching. 8 “Don’t stop pleading with the Lord our God to save us from the Philistines!” they begged Samuel. 9 So Samuel took a young lamb and offered it to the Lord as a whole burnt offering. He pleaded with the Lord to help Israel, and the Lord answered him.

10 Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them. 11 The men of Israel chased them from Mizpah to a place below Beth-car, slaughtering them all along the way.

12 Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah.[a] He named it Ebenezer (which means “the stone of help”), for he said, “Up to this point the Lord has helped us!”

13 So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. 14 The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days.

15 Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. 16 Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places. 17 Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah.

In this passage, we see that Samuel urged the Israelites to get rid of their foreign god. Idols today are much more subtle than gods of wood and stone, but they are just as dangerous. Whatever holds first place in our lives or controls us is a god. Money, success, material goods, pride, or anything else can become an idol if it take the place of God in our lives. The Lord alone is worthy of our service and worship and we must let nothing rival him. If we have “foreign gods”, we need to ask God to help us dethrone them, making the one true God our first priority. The pouring of water on the ground before the Lord was a sign of repenting from in, turning from idols, and determining to obey God alone.

For the conservatives among us, the majority of us are not enamored with Trump, but we at the same time do not see him as the antichrist. He is a one-termer to us. We must find a more polished and less divisive presidential candidate in 2018. We must. However, as we say that, I take comfort that the economy is in great shape. We can go to work on Monday and work for companies that are having great sales and profit years this year. We can go to work still knowing that the laws of our land are the same as they were before January 20, 2017. We can be discerning about that which is good and bad about what our president does. Let us take example from the liberals that we can never let our hatred of a political figure reach god-like status. We must keep perspective.

We must be the same in our personal lives. We cannot let anything come in between us and God. We can let hatred of others become gods to us. For example, a person who hates another so much, that hatred can become a god. Like the Trump situation for liberals, I have seen people going through divorces that they become so obsessed with destroying their former spouse that the hatred became their god. We can let love of others become a god when the pursuit of women or pursuit of men become a god. We can let pursuit of money become a god. We can let pursuit of power, pursuit of things, pursuit of good times, pursuit of the party lifestyle, pursuit of drugs, pursuit of alcohol, pursuit of anything that is not God can become idols to us.

We must worship God first in everything we do from our finances, our jobs, our relationships, you name it. God must be first. Nothing else. Anything else is idolatry. Let us examine our lives for what we put before God. What are those obvious things? Even harder, what are the subtle things that we put before God. Let us pour out water before the Lord and repent of those things. Turn away and come back to the Lord.

Amen and Amen.

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