|Idols are tough to expose—that is, unless they’re the sort that sit on the shelf of a house altar. We’re too contemporary for idols like that. But that does not mean today’s verse is out of date. It speaks to you. When? Whenever you feel ashamed.
Think about those times when you are ashamed of yourself. Perhaps you were sitting, all sophisticated and nicely dressed, with a new friend over coffee. As the conversation flowed, you felt witty and interesting. How fascinated your new friend seemed to be with you. It made you feel all the more charming. But then it happened. You knocked your cup, and coffee went all over your new suit. Instead of laughing it off, you felt stupid and silly, embarrassed and even ashamed.
This is where today’s verse comes in. It is through shame that God exposes that which we idolize. How does this relate to our story? Well, what idol did the feeling of shame and embarrassment expose but pride? The person in our story was hoping to come across as charming and sophisticated and, oh, so important in the other’s eyes—but friend, it all boils down to pride. And the idol we worship—even the impressiveness of our own image—will ultimately put us to shame.
This is helpful! How else would we detect the idols in our life? God has engineered us in such a way that he uses our sense of shame to reveal those things, people, or vocations that we idolize. And once our idols are exposed, we can then more easily do away with them.
The next time you feel shame, ask yourself, “What idol has just been given a shove off my shelf?”
I have to admit, Lord, that a verse like today’s seems as though it’s from another time and place, another era. But verses like these are as fresh and personal as they were three thousand years ago. Thank you for exposing the idols in my life through my sense of shame. Help me to remember that the next time I feel embarrassed.