Read Psalm 135
Focus on verse 15-18
When the television show American Idol first hit the airwaves and became popular I had an uneasy feeling about the concept right from the start. I have had opportunity to watch the show and have found parts of it entertaining. I like the concept of providing an avenue for people with talent to be discovered and promoted, and the show has certainly done that not just for the winners, but also for many of the other contestants that have won the opportunity just to be on the show.
As I think about what it is that causes me to be uncomfortable with the concept, it is probably mostly the name…American Idol.
As a child I was taught that those who sought to be in the spotlight, or who promoted themselves were arrogant, self-centered people so this kind of behavior was discouraged. Respectable people were humble and quiet and did not seek attention but rather went about business without making a fuss. My parents often went out of their way to avoid attracting attention. I suspect this tendency was largely cultural and somewhat religiously driven.
As I read through Psalm 135 for today’s reading, it struck me that there might be more to it. Perhaps another reason that I find it difficult to fully support the American Idol idea is that the Bible typically does not speak highly of idols. It does speak quite frequently about idols, but always casts them in a negative light. If the definition of an idol by biblical standards is any person, place or thing that becomes more important to a person than his or her relationship with God, it would seem that America has been rife with idols for quite some time already.
The psalmist describes the idols that he sees in his context as follows:
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
The work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them,
So do all who trust in them.
The psalmist describes idols as blind, deaf and dumb and essentially dead to the world. Then he adds that those who make them and those who trust in them become like them.
As I observe the world around me, I must admit that it would seem the psalmist has it right. There are people all around me who it would seem have raised up idols, which they worship. It might be one or more of their possessions, it might be their families, their home, their job or their bank account, but the result is always the same. They become like that which they have created. They become blind and deaf to truth, and they miss out entirely on what Jesus called an abundant life.
They miss out because they are physically alive, but spiritually dead, just like the idols they have created and are trusting in. They will continue to remain that way until they abandon their idols and choose to trust and worship the Lord, the God who created them and sustains them.
Perhaps American Idol serves as a not so subtle way that the Lord is warning us of the path we have chosen. If America as a nation continues to pursue the idols we have created and continues to trust in them rather than in the Lord, I suspect it will not be long before the nation becomes like them. It is not that God has abandoned us, quite the opposite actually. He has been actively pursuing us…revealing Himself to us. It we who are too blind, and deaf and perhaps too stubborn to see or hear, otherwise we would turn from the idols and return to follow Him.