Preaching Connection: Idolatry

Home » Preaching Connections » Idolatry

Reading for Preaching

Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home

“As Nathaniel West put it in The Day of the Locust, ‘At the sight of their heroes and heroines, the crowd would turn demoniac’ (chapter 27). P. 210: “John Hinckley [who shot Ronald Reagan] turned himself into Travis Bickle [the main character in Paul Schrader’s film Taxi Driver]. He was following too literally a logic...
Explore

Additional content related to Idolatry

Exodus 32:1-14

What is taking God so long? There’s a whole sermon to be preached in the opening clause of this text: “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down the mountain…” Of course, the key theme of the text is idolatry: the making and worshiping of the golden calf by the Israelites. …

Explore

Psalm 50:7-15

In an episode of the original Star Trek series titled “The Apple,” the crew of the USS Enterprise visits a planet that is ruled by a god by the name of Vaal.  One inhabitant of this planet named Akuta has what looks like a small antenna attached to his neck and it is through this…

Explore

Acts 17:22-31

Well, you win some and you lose some. Paul had some experience with the truth of that old adage, and some of the relevant experiences can be seen in Acts 17 and Paul’s famous conversation with the Athenians at the Areopagus. The day was not without its spiritual victories.  The chapter concludes by telling us…

Explore

Psalm 121

For the second week in a row the Year A RCL has assigned a psalm that was also the Year C Psalm lection just a few months ago in October 2022.  So with modest modifications, here is a bit of a rerun on my recent thoughts on preaching this well-known—and very lovely—Hebrew poem. When I…

Explore

Psalm 121

When I was a little kid, I remember Psalm 121 being read in church or sometimes at our dinner table.  Back then various versions of the Bible translated that first line, “I lift up mine eyes to the hills, whence cometh my help.”  The sentence is in the indicative mood.  Read this way, it is…

Explore

Jeremiah 31:27-34

I am not sure why the Revised Common Lectionary’s series of passages from Jeremiah skips around the way it does (one week Jeremiah 32 but then next time around it’s back to chapter 29 and now we leap to chapter 31) but I think I can understand why the Lectionary saved this passage from the…

Explore

Jeremiah 2:4-13

According to the old adage, “You are what you eat.”  But parts of the Bible, including Jeremiah 2, give voice to a different point of view: You are what you worship.  In Jeremiah 2, one of the prophet’s initial broadsides against the people of Israel was the sad fact that in worshiping gods that were…

Explore

Psalm 82

What are we to make of Psalm 82?  Who are the “gods” that get referred to multiple times?  If you as an orthodox believer are convinced there really are no other gods beyond the God and Father of Jesus Christ, then these references to other gods may be a bit unsettling.  But as I read…

Explore

Colossians 3:1-11

Few issues roil the 21st century North American church more than those that revolve around human sexuality. North American Christians spend much time arguing about extra-marital sex, same sex attraction and marriage, as well as gender dysphoria. Churches and denominations are dividing, whether formally or informally, around the appropriateness or inappropriateness of various sexual behaviors….

Explore

Exodus 34:29-35

To understand the end of Exodus 34, you need to catch up on two things: the immediate context of this chapter in Exodus and also what happened in the first 9 verses of this 34th chapter, the final effect of which you can read in the Lectionary selection of verses 29-35. First of all, then,…

Explore

Psalm 146

Psalm 146 is one of the final poems in the Hebrew Psalter and is part and parcel of the revving up we get as the whole Book crescendos in a climax of praise.  And there is no doubting that Psalm 146 is a song of tremendous praise.  But that does not mean it has no…

Explore

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25

When preaching on this text, there is a huge temptation to focus on verse 15c alone.  “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”  That bold declaration of commitment and intention has been posted on many a front door, mine included back in the days of my young parenthood.  It’s a…

Explore

Psalm 121

For the second week in a row the Year A RCL has assigned a psalm that was also the Year C Psalm lection just a few months ago.  So with modest modifications, here is a bit of a rerun on my recent thoughts on preaching this well-known—and very lovely—Hebrew poem. When I was a little…

Explore

Jeremiah 2:4-13

Last week our study of Jeremiah’s call to ministry gave us the historical setting of his work.  Jeremiah prophesied during the last days of the southern Kingdom, after the northern Kingdom had been dragged away by the Assyrian armies.  Now Judah was now facing the same fate at the hands of the newly emergent Babylonian…

Explore

Psalm 82

What are we to make of Psalm 82?  Who are the “gods” that get referred to multiple times?  If you as an orthodox believer are convinced there really are no other gods beyond the God and Father of Jesus Christ, then these references to other gods may be a bit unsettling.  But as I read…

Explore

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

It’s likely that nearly all of us have heard Christians say something like, “God never gives us more than we can handle.”  Because the people who say this generally have a lot to “handle,” I’m reluctant to confront them on it.  But I’m always tempted to ask them, “Where exactly does God make that promise?”…

Explore

Exodus 34:29-35

Fittingly, the season of Epiphany ends with Transfiguration Sunday.  With the possible exception of his resurrection, Christ’s Transfiguration was the most spectacular exhibition of his glory in his life.  Indeed, the Transfiguration was arguably even more glorious than the Resurrection, because Jesus resurrected body did not have about it the unmistakable glory of his transfigured…

Explore

Exodus 20:1-17

If we were to poll North Americans about what God is like, most of those who believe in God might say God is nice or forgiving.  If we were to poll them about what God looks like, many would answer God looks like a loving grandparent or kind uncle or aunt. How can we know…

Explore

Exodus 32:1-14

Almost all of us have experienced our text’s Aaron’s feelings at one time or another.  He’s caught, after all, quite literally between a rock and a hard place.  Aaron is trapped between a glorious past and an uncertain future. Israel’s memories of her escape from Egyptian slavery remain as clear as a dry, cool night…

Explore

Genesis 1:1-2:4a

Questions about the age of the universe, earth and the human race intrigue at least some 21st century Christians.  Some wonder just how God guided the development of creation and its creatures.  So God’s people sometimes turn to passages like this Genesis 1 and 2 for answers to those hard questions. However, it’s important to…

Explore

Jeremiah 2:4-13

Diseases that sap memory, like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, deeply frighten some people. After all, memory connects us to those we love and even in a way to ourselves. Without memory, we largely become alone in the world. Without memory, in many ways we no longer feel like we belong anywhere. Memory, however,…

Explore

Psalm 96

There are two very different ways to read this Psalm. If we focus on the Psalmist’s claim that Yahweh is Lord of all nations and the attendant claim that he is far above all the gods of the nations and the in-your-face assertion that, in fact, those gods are nothing but idols, we could call…

Explore

1 Kings 18:20-21 (22-29), 30-39

It seems that some 21st century North Americans approach religion the way hungry people graze at a buffet. A little bit of this. A smidgeon of that. A little bit of Christianity. A dollop of Buddhism. A sprinkling of Hinduism. Since God is the God of all truth, people can learn some things from a…

Explore

Exodus 34:29-35

To understand the end of Exodus 34, you need to catch up on two things: the immediate context of this chapter in Exodus and also what happened in the first 9 verses of this 34th chapter, the final effect of which you can read in the Lectionary selection of verses 29-35. First of all, then,…

Explore

Hosea 4

When I first learned to preach, I was told that each text has one theme, and one theme only.  A few years later, another teacher of preaching told me that each text has many possible legitimate themes.  One must choose a theme and run that theme like a magnet over the surface of the text. …

Explore