‘Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.’ Jonah 2.8
As we continue to look at some verses from the story of Jonah, this one appears to have a sadness about it. It speaks about those who turn away from God missing out on opportunities and experiences.
The ‘worthless idols’ mentioned in this verse could be regarded as short term solutions that don’t turn out to be solutions at all. Clinging to a worthless idol is what happens whenever we try to find the help we need without turning to God first. Why do we do this? Why do we have a tendency to ‘cling to worthless idols’ when we could cling to God? Presumably we fear that God will not give us what we want, or we feel unable to approach him for some reason. At times like this it can be easy to try to by-pass God and get what we want another way.
This verse spells out the price of such action, not in terms of punishment, but rather in terms of what we miss out on – the full and active love of God in our lives.
There may be reasons why God might not give us everything we want, but as we turn to him we will find that something of him always flows to us; a specific touch or something that catches us by surprise. This tender care is what we can so easily forfeit by turning away from God’s love.
It might be worth considering whether you have been clinging on to any ‘worthless idols’ at the moment, perhaps without even realising it. If so, make a decision to let them go and turn back to God instead.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission
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