Samuel and the idols

That sounds like the name of a rock band, but it’s a sermon title…

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When we hear about idol worship, what do we think of?

Maybe when we hear about idols and idolatry, we first think of places around the world where idols are part of the cultural landscape. We might think of those countries where statues or shrines are plentiful in public and private places. In a similar vein, when we hear about idols and idolatry we might think of the Old Testament – passages like the one we read this morning – a story where the people of Israel had got caught up worshipping at shrines set up to the gods of their neighbours.

Now when we think about idolatry and idols in this way – in terms of statues and shrines, and in terms of the gods of the ancient Canaanites, for example – we create a kind of distance between ourselves and the notion of idolatry. We aren’t generally tempted to set up shrines to various gods in our homes. The temptation that the Israelites felt to worship the gods of their neighbours – that isn’t really a part of our experience. So when we initially think of idols and idolatry there is a kind of distance – we’re not immediately sure how this reality connects with our own lives. Continue reading