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Archive for February 17th, 2020


Monday, February 17, 2013

Baruch 6Little Gods 

Worshiping the Golden Calf

Nicolas Pouisson: The Adoration of the Golden Calf

Baruch, the prophet Jeremiah’s faithful secretary, paints a clear contrast for us between false, little gods and the one, true and living God; he leaves us with no doubt that pagan deities are nothing more than air while God is good and God is great.  As useless as one’s broken tools are their gods, set up in their houses; their eyes are full of dust from those who enter.  If we take time today we might discover where we have placed our little gods whom we tend to night and day.  And we might also consider how and when and why we tend to our relationship with the Living God . . . and all that our God has done for us even during those times when we allow ourselves to be lured away.

They are wooden, gilded and silvered; they will later be known for frauds.  To all peoples and to all kings it will be clear that they are not gods, but human handiwork; and that God’s work is not in them.  Yet we slide into easy comfort as we worship fashions that ebb and flow, sports figures who bring home temporary trophies, and television or Hollywood personalities who sap our time and energy by drawing us in to their tragedies and triumphs.

Despite the gold that covers them for adornment, unless someone wipes away the corrosion, they do not shine; nor did they feel anything when they were molded. 

The petty gods of our addictions, the small, little gods of our vain ambitions, the trivial gods of our toxic relationships hold sway over us as we tend to them more than we tend to the people in our lives.

If they fall to the ground the worshipers must raise them up.  They neither move of themselves if one sets them upright, nor come upright if they fall; but one puts gifts beside them as beside the dead.

These tiny and silly gods must be cared for by those in the household or they wither and decay.  They do not give life, they do not revive the dead, and they do not encourage the living.

How then can one not know that these are no-gods, which do not save themselves either from war or disaster?

Why do we allow these trifling and senseless gods into our lives?  Why do we tend to these meaningless gods who must be served and cosseted?  They do not save, they do not rescue, and they do not transform.

The Gospel reading on this First Sunday in the Lenten season retells the story of Satan’s attempt to lure Jesus to himself and way from God.  We watch Jesus deftly manage the skilled arguments by resting in the knowing that God is all and that God alone is enough.  Why can we not rest in this same knowledge?

Jesus is tired and hungry from his fast in the desert and Satan believes him an easy target, but in the end Jesus relies on God alone.  Why cannot we rely on this one true source of life?

Even after Jesus dispatches Satan we read: When the devil had finished every temptation, departed from him for a time.  We must keep watch against these little daily assaults.  We must check in constantly with God who redeems and saves.

And so we pray . . .

Good and generous God, keep our hands away from our broken and useless tools and hold us in your own steady hands. Help us to see beneath the gilding and artifice to the emptiness inside our little gods.  Guide us in seeing that our futile gods cause us too much work and too much anguish.  Call us to see that you serve us more than we can ever serve you. Continue to keep us from the dark world of wars and disaster.  And keep us always in your light. Amen. 


Adapted from a post written on February 17, 2013.

The Book of Baruch was written during the Maccabean era and for this reason is not always included in all versions of the Bible and some versions, while they do contain the letter of Jeremiah’s secretary, do not include the last chapter. Click on the scripture link above to explore this marvelous closing to Baruch’s letter. For more on Baruchvisit: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2006604 

Image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_calf

To read more about Matthew’s story of Satan and Jesus, see The Temptations page on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-temptations/

To read a reflection on Luke’s version of this story, see The Test post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/2012/01/03/the-test/

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