There is danger in getting what you want! Big Idea
Can a “good” thing become an idol? “We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as an idol, especially the very best things in life.” -- from Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller
Can a “good” thing become an idol “Idolatry is always the reason we ever do anything wrong. Why do we ever lie, or fail to love or keep promises or live unselfishly? Of course, the general answer is “because we are weak and sinful”, but the specific answer is always that there is something besides Jesus Christ that you feel you must have to be happy, something that is more important to your heart than God, something that is spinning out a delusional field and enslaving the heart through inordinate desires. So the secret to change is always to identify the idols of the heart.” – Tim Keller, “Idolatry and Modern Society”
Genesis 12:1-9 1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran,
Genesis 12:1-9 (continued) and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.
Summary Abraham is asked to obey God All nations of the earth will be blessed through his descendants He gets to have children
God’s Promise In Abraham’s time, a son brings: Status, Succession, Continued wealth So, no son = no family (at least in societies eyes) Abraham’s “want” or “desire” for a son was much greater than just wanting children. His legacy depended on it.
Growing Impatient Genesis 15:2-6 -- 2 But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” 4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
“I’ll Do It Myself” Genesis 16:1-6 -- 1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.
“I’ll Do It Myself” Genesis 16:1-6 (continued) -- 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.” 6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
“I’ll Do it Myself” Genesis 16:7-12 -- 7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. 9 Then the angel of the LORD told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”
“I’ll Do it Myself” Genesis 16:7-12 (continued) -- 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” 11 The angel of the LORD also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. 12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”
Genesis 22 1 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” 3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
Genesis 22 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” 6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?”
Genesis 22 Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
Genesis 22 11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. 12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.
Abraham and Isaac God finally blessed Abraham with a son God then asks Abraham to give that son up Abraham does this because he believed: God is both holy and gracious God is a God of grace Some how God is big enough to take care of this
How was this possible? “Abraham was not just exercising ‘blind faith.’ He was not saying, ‘This is crazy, this is murder, but I’m going to do it anyway.’ Instead he was saying, ‘I know that God is both HOLY and GRACIOUS. I don’t know how he is going to be both -- but I know he will.’ If he had not believed that he was in debt to a holy God, he would have been too angry to go. But if he had not also believed that God was a God of grace, he would have been too crushed to go. He would have just lain down and died. It was only because he knew God was both holy and loving that he was able to put one foot after another up that mountain.” – Tim Keller, “Counterfeit Gods”
Question: Do we believe that God is holy enough and loving enough and gracious enough to take care of us in the midst of our “wants” and “desires?”
Application: 1. You could ignore it! Question: If you want to know if something is idolatrous in your heart just think about what it would be like if God asked you to give it up, or if you didn’t ever get it in the first place?
Application 2. I’ll never “WANT” anything ever again If I “want” things they will become idols Whatever happens God wanted it to I will not succumb to idols …… so I will never “want.” THIS IS WATERED DOWN BUDDHISM! Eliminate desire to eliminate hardship Chase Nirvana
Application 3. Make God the center of your “wants” and “desires” When we choose God over our wants and desires we lead more fulfilling lives. This releases us from the control these things have over us. Turn to God in repentance.
Cycle of Idolatry (“depraved minds”) Seek to fill Void Addiction & Emptiness Fragmented Guilt & gnawing hunger Cognitive Dissonance
Cycle of Idolatry (“depraved minds”) Seek to fill Void Addiction & Emptiness Fragmented Guilt & gnawing hunger Cognitive Dissonance Turn to God in repentance!