Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more (16:4a)
This election season has truly disgusted me. Let’s not even discuss the morality or immorality or qualifications of the candidates, but focus solely on the reactions and inaction of the people for a moment.
When the primary was held in my state, I really struggled with a moral dilemma. Do I vote for anyone or no one at all? Technically I am registered independent. Does that mean that I have no responsibility in the primary and therefore have no guilt if I don’t vote? I lost sleep over this decision, and it was only a primary. Because the fact of the matter is, I don’t know what to do. I try to make very informed decisions, but every time I begin to research a candidate—headlines like this arise:
“Anti-Trumpers Beat Trump Supporters”
“Trump Supporters Brutally Assaulted”
“Pro-Cruz Supporter Loses it on Live Show”
“Trump Blast Protestors as ‘thugs and criminals’”
“No, Hillary Clinton Did Not Commit a Crime”
“Sanders Asks for Extension on Financial Disclosure Forms”
And that is just to name a few. It’s disheartening, disillusioning, and disappointing.
But this is not a political soapbox, and I am not taking a stand for or against a particular party, issue or candidate. The fact of the matter is simple: “Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.”
For years our country has been elevating other gods.
All of these things have taken priority in our culture. So much so that they have ceased to become red flags in even the most moral of our senses. They’ve become common place jokes. Oh, we exclaim, of course he’s corrupt. He’s a politician.
We’ve all run after these other gods. Over and over and over again. To one degree or another they’ve embedded themselves as a part of American society. A new Babylon. And it is time to pay the piper.
Unless we begin to lay boundary lines in pleasant places, we will not receive a delightful inheritance. We will suffer. The problem is not immigration. The problem is not guns. The problem is not the environment or fracking or even education.
The problem is in our hearts. When we run after other gods. We. Will. Suffer.
As for me, I still don’t rightly know what is ahead of me in the upcoming political field, but I do know that “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right I will not be shaken. […] You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presences, with eternal pleasure at your right hand” (16:8;11). Even in the midst of a collapsing empire, you will “hide me in the shadows of your wings” (17:8b).
Questions to Ponder
1) How do we keep ourselves from falling into the trap of serving other gods in a culture that encourages this behavior?
2) How does American culture suffer as a result of chasing after these gods?
3) What would change in our society if we shifted our focus off these gods?