About Joy Part 3
"If I work to save myself, then the thing for which I work must be my savior, my god."
This realization got me thinking about idolatry. Did you know the ten commandments do not open with a command? It begins with a statement: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery." Exodus 20:2. Then it goes to the first command: "You shall have no other gods before me..."
It lines up with what I was reading at the time of the realization. I was reading Ezekiel. A major theme of Ezekiel is idolatry. In it, God most notably frames idolatry in adultery. Ezekiel is so much about the grief of a husband whose rightful lover has left him for others. Idolatry is so bad, not only because we worship that which is no god at all, but because we do have the true God. More than setting up graven images idolatry is about betrayal; it's a matter of the heart.
Then I was reminded of the rich young ruler of Mark 10. In love Jesus calls out his commitment to his great possessions. But Jesus does not only tell him to sell everything and be without, Jesus offers in its place himself. "One thing you lack, go sell all your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me." 10:21.
I realized that like the rich young man, when pressed, I had to admit, "But Lord, I don't really want you."
At this point, there was genuine sorrow. Then I thought of the great parable of the hidden treasure - Matthew 13:44. How the man who found the treasure did exactly what the rich young ruler could not. "He sold all he had and bought that field." And it dawned on me, the treasure is Jesus.
The statement just before selling everything clued me in on what was waiting for me at the end of this conversation. ...and then in his joy went and sold all he had...