Fox’s hit show “American Idol” just kicked off another season, and the title is more fitting to our country than most of us realize. Sure, Fox is spotlighting the next hidden music star – thus the title – but most of us do far more than that when it comes to american idols.
As one of our elders described in this past week’ study group, idols are far more prevalent than we realize. They’re not just a graven image or statue; they can be anything we place in front of God’s call to us … anything we run to that’s not in line with God’s will … things we obey that shouldn’t be obeyed … things we trust to save us instead of trusting and obeying Jesus. As Mark Driscoll notes, idols are nothing more than “functional saviors.” They provide a temporary and false sense of security no doubt, but nonetheless, we continue to turn to them. And many of us have more of these “functional saviors” than we want to admit.
Jonah had one: the ship! And he referred to it in chapter 2 when he talked about “clinging to worthless idols.” Or “vain” idols as another translation puts it. Either way, the sailing vessel was Jonah’s “functional savior.” Jonah trusted the ship to save him. To hide him. To take him where no one could find him. The ship was his escape; his getaway from God. In a word, his idol.
I’ve got some. And so do you. Things like food, shopping, exercise, control, possessions…you can take it from here. Regardless of the name you put on it, it’s really an idol. And it’s worthless to actually save you. They’re no different than that ship headed to Tarshish – useless and vain.
And the end result? The bottom of the sea. Clinging to a “worthless” idol only leaves us crushed and crashed. Instead of following the idol to the end of the line, let’s abandon our “functional saviors” and run to the only True and Faithful Savior — Jesus!