Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm a Fan!

Have you ever been to a college football game?  It isn't very difficult to distinguish fans of one team from the other.  Often, they wear team colors (and sometimes even body or face paint) to signify who they support, have noise makers and/or other accoutrements that help identify them as fans, and typically, they don't care who knows which team they love!  Without apology they shout, jeer, cheer and celebrate.

The dictionary defines "worship" this way: to idolize; to love unquestioningly and uncritically or to excess; to feel profound love and admiration for something or someone.

Could we accurately say then that some fans exhibit characteristics of worship for and of their team?  I think so.  It certainly seems that there is profound love and admiration when someone is willing to get crazy and possibly even spend all sorts of money in order to follow and support a group of people who are fighting over an odd shaped ball on a big field.  But don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking loyal fans, just making an observation. 

Here's something else I've observed: a lot of us who would dance, yell, shout, paint, wave flags, and spend money in support of our favorite team, wouldn't be caught dead appearing to be that excited about the God of the universe who loves us so much that He has numbered the hairs on our head.

Apparently, neither would those obstinate children of Israel and Judah back in the day of 2 Kings. Today's passages, 2 Chronicles 28 and 2 Kings 16 - 17, cover the period of time when no matter the warning, God's children refused to worship Him, and instead worshipped idols and sinned grievously even to the point of sacrificing their own children in the fire.  As I read these disturbing verses, I couldn't ignore a few similarities we seem to share.

No, we don't burn our children in fires, but we do sacrifice them on the altar of convenience through abortion each and every day in this country.  And no, we don't worship sex gods--oh wait. Internet pornography (and other forms of lewd business) is booming according to the latest reports.  Sadly, we have just as many (or more) idols today as then, and the very real possibility is that God's loving kindness and patience may soon run out with us as it did with His stubborn, idolatrous people.  He is, after all, a jealous God. (Exodus 20:4-5)

Maybe even scarier in some ways than the fact that we may face His discipline for choosing to worship everything but Him is the real possibility that we, like the children of Israel, may become worthless as a result of our misplaced worship. 

Here's what verse 15 of 2 Kings 17 says: They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.”

The word hebel was translated in the verse as "worthless" and may also be translated "empty."  Hebel means 'air,' 'delusion,' or 'vanity.'  Because these people worshipped empty, worthless gods, they were essentially bowing their knees to nothing--and scripture says as a result, that's what they became.

I believe with all my heart that God wants so much more for you and me than this.  I am convinced that if we can just get this worship thing right our lives will be abundant and we will not roam around as others who seek but don't find, yearn but aren't filled, crave but are hungry. 

My hope is that I am a fan of God first, and that I have no idols in my life above Him. My prayer is that you'll share my hope.

Father, help me wear your colors proudly, cheer for you loudly and praise you with all my heart. Sincerely and with genuine fanaticism and adoration.  Amen.

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