Idolatry: Addicted To Not Being Great

We Want A King

After Moses leads the Israelites out of slavery, they wander in the desert and then eventually settle in Canaan, the land of milk and honey.

Joshua is their leader. After he dies, God appoints a series of judges, people from their own tribes, to lead them.

We want a king over us.

—Samuel 8:6

The people always want a king— they’re always begging God for a king. They are like, “Please! Pretty please with cheese on top!”

But God says no.

God says, “The Pharaoh who enslaved you is a king. You just got out of slavery, why do you want to go back in?”

They’re like, “Kings have shiny chariots, jewels, beautiful clothes.”

God says, “They don’t pay for any of those things. They have those things, because you are their slaves.”

The people say, “You give us leaders who wear burlap and there’s always a sheep trailing after them. They look poor. Our leaders always look exactly like us.”

God says, “I look exactly like you.”

The people say, “That’s the thing. Look at the other gods! They dress up!”


Look at Baal. He’s got concrete wings.

God says, “Is that a rave?”

The people say, “Yeah. That’s the thing! They have bacchanals. Like drugs, sex, rock n roll. Why don’t we do that?”

God says, “Cuz you’ll get an STD, a sexually transmitted disease.”

They say, “Here’s him with horns and ‘tentacles with beaks’ coming out of his shoulder blades.”

God is like, “Gross.”

The people are like, “Ok, but look at this god.”


God is like, “What is that?”

The people are like, “It’s a mechanical bull. You can ride him. See, like we can’t get on top of you and ride you in the middle of a stadium with fireworks.”

God is like, “Is that what you want from me? I liberated you from slavery.”

Butt goddess

Earth Goddess

The people are like, “Okay but how about the butt goddess? Curves to die for— look at that backside.”

God says, “That doesn’t look natural. It might be, but if you have multiple children— this is the fertility goddess right— then your waist can’t be that tiny. Where are her stretch marks?”

God Is So Ordinary

The people are like, “That’s not the point. You don’t have anything special about you. Every now and then you use nature— to like, send plagues, or send us mana from the sky to eat— but you always use nature. The most fantastical thing you do is an act of nature.

You’re not fancy, you’re not flashy, you’re not freaky. You’re definitely not giving us the image of a fairy-tale life where you literally do nothing all day but be fanned by feathers and drink champagne.

You’re a common, ordinary, day-in, day-out, kinda God— you’re just like us.”

God says, “I like being… just like you.”

The people are like, “Ugh! We don’t want a god who is just like us. We want a god who is different than us. Unattainable, other-worldly— who lives in the clouds, in a crystal castle, who rides a Pegasus.”

God says, “You want a fantasy to escape your reality. And I want the opposite. I want to be real. I want to be so real that you talk to me everyday when we go feed the chickens together first thing in the morning. We cook breakfast together. We go sell our crafts at the farmers market together. We take our kids to school together. I just want to live with you, day in and day out. But that’s not what you want?”

They say, “Heck no. We don’t want God to be our next door neighbor. We want a king.”

God says to them, “But if you have a king, he will make all of you— his subjects. He might be nice for three years but on the fourth year, his power, like a virus, will infect his mind.”

He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses, and they will run before his chariot… He will make them do his plowing and harvesting and produce his weapons of war and chariotry. He will use your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers. He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will tithe your crops and grape harvests to give to his officials and his servants. He will take your male and female slaves, as well as your best oxen and donkeys, and use them to do his work. He will also tithe your flocks. As for you, you will become his slaves.

—1 Samuel 8:11

The people say, “But at least we will be serving someone. He will tell us what to do. You don’t tell us what to do. You make us think for ourselves. You are always reluctant to give us a leader, because you want us to lead ourselves. You’re trying to make us— us! Little ole’ me— you want to make us, into kings. You want us to rule ourselves and your whole goal is to train us so that every single one of us has the ability at any moment to step up and lead the entire nation. You want all of us to be co-creators with you, co-leaders with you!”

God says, “That’s a really accurate interpretation. Thanks for that.”

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

Judges 17:6

They say, “That’s a lot of pressure! We don’t want to be great.”

God says, “But you are already great. I made you great. Greatness is inborn within you. Those other gods affirm what you’ve been taught by other kings and other gods— that you’re not great.

You’re not the girl with the biggest butt in California. You don’t have horns. So how can you be great like we are?

You’ve become addicted to NOT BEING GREAT.

You can’t stop scrolling through those Instagram images of people who lay around in bikinis all day. You want anything that does not look like you— that’s as far away and as distant from your reality as possible. The world makes you their slave— when you don’t like yourself.”

The people say to God, “I’d rather be a happy slave to someone else, than a miserable king of my own life.”

God says, “I’m trying to show you how— to be who you really are— a happy human being, no matter what you choose to be.

When you choose to be a slave, I like you.

When you choose to be a king, I like you.

I like you no matter who are you— I just don’t like it when you don’t like yourself.”

Please write that in your journal:

God likes me no matter what I am. He just doesn’t like it when I don’t like myself.

The Israelite people say, “That’s the point. It’s too much work to like myself. It’s easier to like something, anything— as long as it’s not me.”

God says, “When you don’t like yourself, you don’t like me. Because I’m just like you.”

The people say, “That’s the point. We don’t like you.”

[The people] abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers… [and] went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them… and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth… [and] the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines.”

—Judges 2:12-13, 10:6

The book of judges says that the Israelites went off and worshiped other gods.

Stages of Grief

You know the 7 stages of grief by Elizabeth Kubler Ross, right?

God goes through all 7 stages in the Old Testament. He’s in shock, then denial, then he gets angry— then, he bargains. He’s all over the place.

Biblical scholars are like, “God is a hot mess in the Old Testament. Why doesn’t he just cut the Israelites off? He’s keeps getting sucked into their drama, all the time.”

Well, you know what? That’s called a real relationship.

A Real Relationship with God

A real relationship is where you stick it out with someone for a lifetime.

Please write this in your journal:

God has a real relationship with me. God is sticking it out with me for a lifetime.

Never once does God get butt implants or superglue horns to his forehead— just so you’ll like him.

He wants to be liked for who he is. He doesn’t give up who he is just because the person he’s in a relationship with… gives up who they are.

If you look at God in the Old Testament, he fights a lot with the Israelites. They argue, they fight, they disagree all the time, for thousands of years. Their relationship goes through phases.

Biblical scholars are like, “Why doesn’t God just show his power! Make them submit to him!”

What does that mean? Make us his slaves? Force us to accept his authority?

God wants them to THINK for themselves. In other words, God wants them to be their own authority.

Please write this in your journal:

God wants me to be my own authority.

The Author Writes

I’m going to tell you my opinion. Feel free to disagree with me.

I think God would rather FIGHT and ARGUE with us— than just force us to obey and conform to someone else’s authority, even his.

The last thing God wants is to raise his children to be slaves.

He raises us to think for ourselves and to trust our own authority. Even if we’re mistaken, take the time to figure it out. It’s worth it to become a leader.

To be just like God— a co-creative partner.

Because that’s the dream of your soul.

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