Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 11-13
Today's chapters reiterate, over and over again, the command and warning against idolatry.
One is not to worship other gods.
One is not to worship at the site of other gods.
One is not to be encouraged by beloved relatives to worship other gods.
God is serious about this.
At the heart of idolatry is the phrase: "Everyone did whatever was right in their own eyes." Deuteronomy 12:8
This phrase becomes one of the central phrases in the Deuteronomic formula and always hales the beginning of a new round of idolatry.
Here is the hard thing:
It does not matter whether someone is doing something out of ignorance. Good intentions are not an excuse for idolatry.
This is a humbling and scary thought. Any of us at any time might be sitting smack dab in the midst of idolatry and not even know it. We might be going along, trip, and put our hand on something holy to balance ourselves and be condemned. We might be drawing water from a well, meet a stranger and be told the mountain site of worship shown to us by our ancestors is incorrect. We might be worshipping in our little white clabber board church, separated from our slaves, who are worshipping down by the river, and be ignorant to the sinful pride of our prejudice.
Most of us live by the principal of doing what is right in our own eyes. But all of us are blind. We cannot see; we cannot comprehend God.
This was the sin of the Pharisees, good religious folk. They were trying to do what God wanted them to do. They were doing what was right in their own eyes.
I am humbled and scared by the thought that I do not worship the LORD my God properly. I wonder how often He shakes his head at me, or cries out, "No! No! You have it all wrong!"
As soon as we become prideful in our own theologies and ceremonies, and structures become more important to us than worshipping "in spirit and in truth," we are in danger.
My only hope against idolatry is my hope in the Holy Spirit who will interpret all my bumbling. My only hope is in my great High Priest who intercedes on my behalf. My only hope is in the faithfulness of the LORD God.
Otherwise, I am just a blind one walking around aimlessly in darkness.