Hero worship is, unfortunately, a common problem among Christians today. We have our favourite preachers, evangelists, ministers and servants of God, authors and pastors. We may even have certain political leaders as our heroes. And we end up worshipping these heroes, knowingly or unknowingly.
There were few times when I saw some theology posted online and had the temerity to point out certain Biblical verses which directly contradict the said theology. And then the wolves would come out – how dare you question our pastor/preacher/minister of God? Do you have his anointing? No one knows who you are, but our pastor/preacher/minister has so many followers on Facebook, Twitter, etc,.
But no one would say whether what I wrote is correct or not, based on the Bible. That’s never the problem. How dare you question our ….?
Especially in Pentecostal churches, the hero worship is so easily visible to human eyes, except those who are into it. The church attendance would drop if certain pastor is not preaching; the church will be full when a certain person leads the worship.
There are some Christians who believe that God our Father do not listen to our prayers, but if such a minister of God prays, then there will be an immediate answer to those prayers. So when they need prayers, they will write to those ministers of God or call them, so that they can get an instant answer from God through the “direct line”.
Is it wrong to have someone else pray for us? Of course not. Is it wrong that some men of God are asked to intercede on our behalf. No, it is not. But to depend on them, to follow them blindly, is wrong and it will lead to spiritual idolatry and spiritual adultery.
In Exodus chapter 32, we see the idolatry of Israelites. But what we don’t read between the lines is most revealing.
That morning, they collected manna – which was provided by our Lord God.
That day, they drank water that came from the rock – again the provision was from our God.
During the entire day, when they were busy preparing the idols, they were under the shadow of the pillar of cloud – provided by God.
During that night, when they were worshipping the idols and celebrating, they received light by the pillar of fire – provided by God.
If all these were not enough to remind them of the presence of God among them, they were at the base of Mount Sinai and the peak was covered with clouds, symbolizing the glory and presence of the LORD God.
There were thunders and lightning that would have reminded them the awesome power of our God.
Imagine this. After eating the manna and drinking the water provided by the Lord our God, they proceeded to create and worship an idol under the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire that the Lord had given them in His mercy. HIS awesome power and magnificent glory were visible whenever they looked up. Yet they went ahead and created the idols. Why? Because they were worried about their hero, Moses.
Exodus 21:1 says: Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
Since they could not see their hero and did not know what happened to him, they decided to choose another leader… no, wait, no, they did not do that. That would have been the right thing to do. Instead, when they thought they lost Moses, they replaced him with idols. Hero worship had led them to idolatry. And there were so many things that would have reminded them of the presence of the Lord among them, the LORD God Who actually brought them out of the land of Egypt. But when people have heroes, true and living God cannot be seen – only idols can be seen.
So, who is your focus? Are you looking only Jesus, Him crucified or your preacher? Are you focussing your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, or some Christian author whose books have revived your faith? Let us focus our eyes only on Jesus and Jesus Christ alone. Amen.
When we feel like we are in the wilderness, with all our hopes lost and nothing left to put our trust in, the most dreaded of all fears come across our hearts – we are alone in this. There is no one who can understand what we are going through. It won’t even make sense to them. Suddenly we realize that we have no friend to confide in.
Alone. The fear of being lonely. Especially when we have followed the guidance of the Lord. We have only obeyed His instructions. Yet, here we are. We have nothing left. It is a wilderness all around us. Nothing to trust in. No hopes left. Your faith is struggling. And it sure looks lonely.
But dear friend, you are not alone. Because if you have followed the Lord, if you have obeyed His Word and you find yourself in a wilderness, remember that the Spirit of the Lord is with you.
Remember when Jesus found Himself in a wilderness, where He was tempted for 40 days and nights (Luke 4:2)? Where the devil questioned Jesus if He is the Son of God? And how did Jesus Christ reach that point of temptation? The Bible says that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness. (Luke 4:1)
Yes, dear friend, when you are in the midst of the wilderness, when it looks like there is no hope left, when suddenly you realize that you are all alone, remember that the Spirit of God has led you up to this point and He is with you. The Comforter is with you.And HE will give you rest. (Isaiah 63:14)
Gen 16:13 And she called the name of the LORD that spoke unto her, Thou art a God of seeing; for she said: “Have I even here seen Him that seeth Me?” (JPS)
The Easy to Read Version says:
“I see that even in this place, God sees me and cares for me!”
What a joy it must have been to Hagar to see the God of Abraham in the wilderness. Probably being an Egyptian, she was forbidden to take part in the worships that Abraham led in his family. Probably she was told that to seek the Most Holy God, she had to undergo so many cleansing rituals.
Yet, a maid servant, rebelling against her mistress, in the middle of the wilderness, saw that our God is El Roi. One Who sees you even in the wilderness. The most loving God. Caring God. God Who sees us even in the wilderness and takes care of us.
Even for us, we have our own requirements of how we need to seek our Lord. There is nothing wrong in that, but most of the times when we are supposed to seek the LORD, we spend our time in finding the right spot and the right conditions to pray. As a result, we never get a chance to be surprised by our Lord Jesus Christ.
If the LORD is gracious and merciful to look at a maid servant, who was going to give raise to a wild race, even in the middle of wilderness, imagine how much more grace and love He has towards you, you who are saved by the blood of His only Son Jesus Christ.
Once for a Christian event that I was part of, some people were invited and they are not Christians. As I was getting ready for the event, I heard them planning few things to take away the honour and glory that belongs to our LORD. I was quite young at that time and I had no power to stop them. Though they knew I was overhearing their plans, they did not care as they knew I was powerless to do anything. And the Christians, who had planned that event, had already gone to the venue and I had no one to inform. Oh, this happened before the days of cell phones – in case, if you are wondering why I didn’t just call or text someone. So, I was left with no option other than to pray. So, I prayed.
When I reached the event with the same people who were plotting, the very first news we got was that the pastor who was going to lead the event had made certain changes. Which was surprising in many ways as that pastor was known to be against the same changes, but he had told others that the Spirit of God was moving him to do those changes for this event. Most importantly, those who were plotting to take the glory and honour of God, were shocked to see their counsel hit the dump because of those changes.
I cannot even explain the joy and happiness it brought to me. Later, when other Christians came to know of this, they praised the LORD along with me that God answered my prayer that day in such a clear way.
Okay, but why am I saying this? Because when I heard their plans, I was shaving and with no other choice, I prayed while I was shaving and, our God is El Roi – even in the wilderness, He takes care of His own.
Dear child of God, our God is El Roi – He sees you and He sees you now. Even in this wilderness. Pray to Him. And you will be surprised to know how caring our Father in heaven is. Be surprised. Be blessed.