Golden Images

“To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Daniel 3: 4-7, 16-18

At the sound of the horn, the flute, the harp, the lyre… they all fell down and worshipped. These often-read verses struck a little differently yesterday as I read them, I think because I was fresh off reading the news of the past few days of the modern-day version of this idolatrous nightmare. Over the weekend 8 people lost their lives and many were injured attending a concert/festival in Houston called “Astroworld. From all accounts, this looks like a personification of absolute hell on earth. I had barely heard of ‘artist’ Travis Scott before this, he’s connected with a little family we know as the Kardashians, whom I am proud to admit, I have not “kept up” on at all. I personally think this ‘music’ genre is awful at best. After squirming through some video of the weekend show, I’d like to upgrade my ‘awful’ to ‘demonic’. To see young people pouring into a venue full of cultish symbolism and giving themselves physically and emotionally over to the leadings of one single human being on stage is horrifying on many levels. Likewise, to watch a performer in a trance-like state stare down and ‘sing’ as people drop like flies down below is… well it’s probably satanic. I won’t go into all the weird details, but I just want to shout out a little reminder if you have young people in your life to pray for them because the enemy is after them on so many levels it’s quite frightening. It’s not being hidden away, it’s not even being sugar-coated anymore, the occult has made it’s way into a willingly ignorant and oblivious culture and the results are disastrous.

Why do we revere them so? Why do we give a ‘like’ to people who have sold their souls for money and fame? Like a slow drip, we let things into our lives that we shouldn’t, and we don’t realize how their messages affect us. I remember holding off on social media for my kids for so long. I carefully learned about Instagram only to have Snap Chat and Tic-Toc appear out of nowhere. It’s like that analogy of a boat at sea, it never sinks unless the water gets inside. The waves keep on coming, and we need to make sure there aren’t holes in our boat. We binge watch the Real Housewives of wherever and wonder why our girls have such struggles with self-esteem or nonsensical drama. We ignore the violent music or videos playing in our homes and are shocked when our sons grow into angry men. A million little things that we as a culture have bowed down to, and we are “shocked” when the natural consequences play out.

Courtesy: Twitter

The painting at the top left is by Hieronymus Bosch, a 15th century artist whose depictions of the underworld have gained a place in pop culture in recent years. You can draw your own conclusions.

Music is powerful, and like anything, it can be used to build up or tear down. There is a reason worship is so revered in the Bible, and a reason we are heavily warned against giving our allegiance over to anyone but Jesus Christ Himself. Never underestimate the destructive power of humans gathered in a large group giving themselves over to darkness.

Life is spiritual, and idols are real. The human heart really hasn’t changed that much since Daniel’s time. We are prone to wander, vulnerable to drifting into all kinds of evil, especially when it is laid out in front of us like some kind of red carpet. We are way past the ‘entertainment’ phase and well into ‘indoctrination’.

Who is willing to hold the line? We need everyday Christians willing to stand up and let it be known that we will not bow down to their idols, no matter the cost.

Those doing the enemy’s bidding are empty vessels who are hostile to any kind of truth or light. We shouldn’t be afraid to honestly call out evil for what it is. In the same way, how about talking more of the goodness of God? The light will always, always dispel the darkness, and that job isn’t left to the pastors or ministry leaders, it’s up to all of us. Replace the bad with what is edifying. Understand how the entertainment we absorb affects how we think and act. Nothing… absolutely nothing… is neutral.

Romans chapter 1 warns that people will “exchange the truth of God for the lie, and worship the creature rather than the Creator” (v. 25). They are given over to all kinds of horrific thinking and debased minds because the didn’t retain God in their knowledge (v.28). I can’t think of many verses more fitting for our time.

It’s no stretch to say that this awful industry wants you to bow down and worship whatever it is they churn out, no matter how trashy, shocking, disgusting or weird it may be. We have to be more aware, as believers, of what is happening around us. Do we fall over face first when the proverbial horn and lute begin to play? Just because everyone else watches it or listens to it, do we really need to keep up with it? Romans 16:19 tells us to be “wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.” Spend time cultivating wisdom and don’t be entrenched in ungodly junk. We aren’t naive to what is happening, but we certainly can’t embrace it or let it just creep into our households. You can’t be a witness for Christ while walking arm in arm with this culture. Daniel and his friends boldly said ‘no’ to the golden statues, they stood up and stuck out, and God took care of the rest.

Enjoy what is good friends, think on it, teach it to your kids so that they will not crave darkness, but rather the wonderful things of God instead. It’s not some ‘out there’ spiritual concept, it’s the very life to our bones and breath in our lungs. Evil breeds evil, it rots and destroys, it deceives to the point of death.

Be alert, be joyful, and be discerning in the journey.

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