in the Christian Library
Making The God Of MY Choice (2)
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. The triumph of the Gospel over paganism in the Swedish
north lands is punctuated with a number of intriguing stories. King Olaf
of Norway once faced a group of pagan farmers who were armed and prepared
for war. A meeting was called and Olaf exhorted the farmers to accept the
true God and put away their idols. Gudbrand, the chief of the group, answered,
"We know nothing of him you speak about. Do you call one a God whom no
one can see? We have a god that we should have brought to the assembly
today, but it is so rainy; and the sight of him will make your blood run
cold." It was arranged that, if the next day was fair the idol would be
brought out and after an examination the farmers would do either as Olaf
said or else go to war. There god was Thor the Thunderer. Every day 5 cakes
were set before him and as they disappeared, he was believed to have consumed
them. The next day was favorable. The two armies grouped together on either
side of a great plain. Olaf with his attendant, Grimkel, approached the
chief. The pagan multitude parted as a great image, gleaming with silver
and gold, was carried on the shoulders of men. It was set down in the midst
of the field. The heathen chief proudly advance and said, "Where now O
King is your God? I think He will be ashamed before this glorious god of
ours, whom I see you fear." Olaf arose and answered, "You have talked much
and greatly wonder because you cannot see our God, but we expect His arrival.
You try to frighten us with your blind/deaf god, who cannot move and must
be carried upon your shoulders. But now! Look at the east, behold our God
comes!" All looked toward the east and at that instant Kolbing, a faithful
servant of the King, struck the image of Thor with a large club, as previously
instructed. The fragments of the idol were scattered on all sides and out
came a great swarm of mice and rats. The Pagans were terrified. Olaf said,
"You see yourselves what kind of god you have. This is the god to whom
you offered gold/silver and fed the cakes. Take now your precious jewels
from the grass and give them to your daughters/wives. Never again hang
them on wood/ stones!" Olaf then offered the pagans the alternative of
fighting his armies or accepting Christianity. To fight was folly and the
Pagans submitted and were baptized. Thus was idolatry erased in the 11th
II. Our series is asking a very sobering question -- Am
I guilty of idolatry? Not necessarily bowing down and offering cakes to
Thor, but taking the biblical God and modifying Him to be something different
than what He is in the Bible. Such is a startling thought. "Idolatry" seems
too ancient to be practiced today, but it is widely practiced. Even Christians
are guilty of practicing idolatry! A common practice is to re-design the
God of the Bible so that He becomes more comfortable to my belief system.
Here are a few of these "re-designed gods."
A. The God of MY Cause.
1. Many today are involved in critical Causes. We live in a time when almost every aspect of culture seems unstable and some group is trying to restore that stability. Of course, in whatever Cause one supports it is THAT cause that is most important and THAT Cause which deserves the best support. Who else is a better support from MY Cause than the Almighty God? If God is a part of MY cause then I cannot lose!B. The God of MY Understanding.
C. The God of MY Experience.
1. This is one of the most favorite idols in religion today -- mankind places feelings and experiences as the ultimate god. The God of the Bible is thus defined by MY experiences -- if I feel it, it must be true!Conclusion:
I. Here then are 3 "gods" idolized by our modern mind.
Such redesigns of the Almighty God will provide comfort for our Causes,
security in our beliefs, and assurance in our experiences BUT such will
never provide the content-ed peace that passes all understanding.
1. If I worship the "god of MY Cause" I will live life inconsistently.II. Is 17:7 -- Mortals have no choice but to "have regard" for the Almighty God revealed in Scripture. This word refers to a steady gaze because one is very interested. "It is never a casual or disinterested glance ... Isa 17:7-8 God says that the time is coming when a 'man will regard his maker' and no more have regard for the alters which his hands have made" (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vol 2, 944).
In such times mankind will be concerned only in what the
Scripture says about the Almighty God. In such times personal crusades,
understanding, and experiences are never allowed to re-define God's commands
and will for man. In such times the honest Believer joins young Samuel
and pliantly says, "Speak Lord for thy servant listens."
Copyright 1999 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no
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