Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Adventures In History: 2 Kings 17 (part 2) - Idols

Last we left the Israelites and the Americans, they were committing secret sins. Nobody knew about their sins except God. Read on to find out what happens next:

And they built high places in all their cities for themselves, from the Watch Tower to the fortified city. And they set up images and Asherahs for themselves in every high hill, and under every green tree.

~ 2 Kings 17:9-10

So who's Asherah and what does that have to do with America? If Asherah is a God, how could this be relevant to us today? After all, we don't bow down to idols in this country!

Let's listen in on an imaginary conversation that might have taken place in ancient Israel:

Eliosh: Hey Maneser! Long time no see!
Maneser: Yeah, I was living in Moab for a while. Went there to escape the famine and all.
Eliosh: I understand. It's been a rough few years.
Maneser: I met this really hot babe over there though. Her name's Delilah. We hit it off right away, and I am so in love with her.
Eliosh: That's great!
Maneser: I have a secret to confess though... she's not Israeli. She's a Moabitess. Don't tell anybody.
Eliosh: That's cool. As long as she makes you happy. Personally, I think that rule about having to marry another Hebrew is SO 10th Century BC! We can't help who we fall in love with, right?
Maneser: She doesn't believe that Jehovah is God or anything, but she's from another culture, you know? Who am I to judge? She's just following a different path. She has a couple of idols that she worships, but she's really sincere about them, you know? And she's a good person.

Well, Maneser and Delilah ended up having children. They grew up watching Delilah worshiping her idols, and when they grew up, it didn't really seem like a big deal to them. After all, mom worshiped them, it couldn't be bad or anything, could it?

Back to America. World War II started and all the men went off to war. Moms did the noble thing and helped the war effort back home. Some of them had young children and had to leave them with relatives or this new thing called a day care center. They started to like this new freedom out in the workplace... they certainly liked the extra money... and when the war was over, some of them wanted to keep their new jobs.

Their kids saw their moms working for the extra money, and perhaps they learned that having money was pretty important. Mom going off to work was nice when they got to be older, because they had a little extra freedom that way. And they found their own identities, becoming the first group of young people to have their own culture between childhood and adulthood. They became teenagers.

Along comes Elvis. One look at him on the stage, and girls swoon. Just listening to him brought up new, exciting feelings. And to see him on stage! They couldn't show him from the waist down because he was way too provocative.

Are you sure that we don't have idols in America?

I think that we do. Perhaps to some people, money was an idol. It was able to get people a lot of nice stuff after the war ended, along with rationing. Elvis seemed to be an idol to many. By the time the Beatles came around in the 1960s, John Lennon remarked that they were "more popular than Jesus." Isn't that the whole definition of idolatry?

The secret sins of our fictional Maneser, who married a non-Hebrew who didn't love God, led to an acceptance of idolatry within that family, and no doubt some of Maneser's children followed their mother's idols. In a similar vein, the flapper attitude from the 1920s led to a generation of moms who preferred working outside of the home, and didn't really have too much of a problem when their children started idolizing Elvis and the Beatles. After all, when they were young, they went to the speakeasies and danced a little seductively... when Elvis did something similar, no big deal! At least, it wasn't a big enough deal to prohibit the kids from buying his albums or watching him on television.

Stay tuned for part 3 of Adventures in History to find out what happens next.


Kim said...

very creative and thought-provoking! a good way to relate Scripture to our current culture. looking forward to part three...

Brooke Lorren said...