Idolatry, Social Injustice, and Religious Ritualism
Idolatry,Social Injustice, and Religious Ritualism
Propheticbooks in the bible were written by the prophets of God. They werepeople who had been chosen, anointed, and inspired by their creatorto pass various messages to the people on His behalf. Most of theprophetic books speak about judgment. Thus, many people do not findthem friendly. In most of the cases, prophecy is normally dividedinto two categories, which include the classical and pre- classical.The former one started during the rule of Jeroboam II in 700s.Prophets Hosea and Amos were ancient prophets from North, whereasIsaiah and Micah were from the South. They used to speak warnings tothe individuals and kings (Lind 45). The current paper seeks toillustrate how the prophets in the Bible dealt and addressed theissues of idolatry, social injustices, and religious ritualism, whichbrings one to the revelation that that was not followed sincehumankind still lives in ignorance of the right ways.
Firstof all, the different subjects have been addressed by both Isaiah andJeremiah who used to talk about God’s plan when they were speakingto their followers. At some, Isaiah cried and said “Do not forgetabout the previous things, those that happened long time ago I amLord your God, and there is no other like me, what I have told you,that I will lead to, that I have purposed, that I will sort out”(NIV 46-9-11). On the other hand, Jeremiah the prophet used to tellhis followers “to stand at the crossroad and search for them, andhe will write the word of God in their Hearts" (NIV 31-33). Thedeclaration was made to a modern audience, but the fulfillment ofproclamation came as history unfolded itself. The duties and theresponsibilities of the prophets are not that popular. However, thetheme is that majority of the people have permitted the relationshipbetween them and God to be broken. Thus, the prophets put a lot ofemphasis on the broken relationship between people and God and callthem change their ways and come back and serve the Lord.
However,being the prophet of God means being familiar with His righteousnessand mercy. Moreover, one can remember Jonah had to question God abouthis compassion with regards to the people of Nineveh, and he was veryirritated claiming that the wicked ones were also supposed to beshown pity. Similarly, Habakkuk had to rebuke faith for those whopracticed mischief, bearing in mind that the vision was only for theappointed time (Lind 55). He stated that it talks about the end time,does not lie, and that it is to happen.
Onthe other hand, to understand prophet Hosea is like to comprehend theBaal in Canaan. The people of this land used to worship many godscomprising the high EL and companion, Asherah. Baal used to be theoffspring, the rain, and the storm god were mainly concerned withagricultural productiveness and sexual reproduction. Baal god used tohave a counterpart referred to as Mot, who was the god of sterilityand destruction. The people of Canaan heavily depended on these twogods for worshipping purposes. Besides, both Baal and Mot were markedby seasons of rain and plenty interchanging with famine and drought.Worshipping of Baal comprised of sacrificing human beings andperforming ritual prostitution (Lind 64). Regarding this, both maleand female who practiced prostitution used to be hired in theshrines, and they used to serve as priests as well as priestesses ofthe idol gods. The Canaanites used to engage in sexual activitiestogether with shrine prostitutes so as to bring about the fertility.The worship of Yahweh was very strict on monotheism, which hadalready been compromised by the religion of syncretism. However,during the Roman and Greek times, this strictness of Yahwism resultedin the summonses of atheism and indictments of seditions.Alternatively, the people from Hebrew, knowing very well that theCanaanites were not fully conquered, lived with them. In fact, theyintermarried and at some point, worshiped the Canaanites’ gods.
Inthis regard, one can derive the message from Hosea`s teachings.Firstly, the majority of the people have performed spiritual idolatryand committed literal prostitution with themselves. However, thequestion is whether sexual excesses, abuses of power, material, andworship of idols should be judged by the justice. Hosea said, "come,let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces, but he will healus" (NIV 6.1). However, the people of Israel continue to makesacrifices to the Baal in that "when Israel was a child, I lovedhim, and out of Egypt, I called my son" (NIV 11:1).Nevertheless, the more he appealed to them, the more they driftedaway from the right ways and continued making sacrifices to the Baaland offering incense to the gods. Thus, Hosea ends by urging peopleto go back to their maker in the verse that “Return, Israel, to theLord your God. Your sins have been your downfall!” (NIV 14.1).
Additionally,the people of Israel had a prolonged battle of worshipping a God whomthey could not see. This is despite the many times that He revealedhimself to them. They still continued worshipping human-made gods atthe expense of the living one (Boloje and Groenewald 56). God choseprophets who acted as his spokespeople to speak to the people on hisbehalf. They preached to the people as they gave them stern warningsif they did not change their wicked ways and turn to the Lord God ofIsrael, their creator. Moreover, Zephaniah, from the beginning of hismessage to the people of Israel on behalf of God, rebuked the peopleof Judah for their worshipping of idols. He told them that God wasgoing to destroy people from Judah and Jerusalem and terminate theworshipping of Baal. He went ahead and told them that he would bringto an end all idolatrous priests so their memory could alsodisappear. This was because they used to go up on their roofs, boweddown to the sun, the moon, and stars. They pretended to be worshipingGod but instead, they adored Molech (Boloje and Groenewald 57). Hecontinued to warn them that God could destroy those who used toreverence him, but they stopped. These are the people who no longersought for God`s guidance nor asked for his blessings. Since thepeople of Israel started worshiping idols, this led to socialinjustices. This is because other gods do not follow God`s rule suchas using God’s wealth for his purposes as well as taking care ofthe needy.
Aboveall, as one goes through the Old Testaments books that have beenwritten by the prophets, they can deduce that so far there is notmuch that have changed. People are still the same selfish individualsand do not worship God as advised by the Bible. It is because humansput material things ahead of their God who is their creator andprovider. However, as one goes deeper in the books of prophets, iteasier to discover that if people can humble and pray for themselvesseeking the face of God and change their wicked ways, He wouldprobably hear their cry from heaven, forgive their sins, and restorethe productivity of their lands. God is said to crave obedience tothose who are ready to change their evil ways and decides to live byHis will (Lind 66). Therefore, when people commit themselves inloving God and worshiping him alone wholeheartedly, then Hereciprocates by loving them and taking care of their needs. Besides,God has provided people with the necessary tools and resources thatwill help and guide them in pursuing Him. Thus, it is up to humans touse those approaches and resources so as that they can receive Hisblessings.
Inconclusion, the topics of idolatry, social injustice, and religiousritualism have been made clear by the prophets. Similarly, theseprophets had various agendas in their mind about God. Therefore, theyused to serve as commentators of social-spiritual practices in thesociety. Most of the classical prophets carried the message for thepeople, which was identifiable with the prescriptions that God passedto them. The statement by the creator was usually constrained in thetheology of covenant. Moreover, there used to be a divine revelationof the message to the preferred people so as to continue with thestrategy in history.
Boloje,Blessing Onoriode, and Alphonso Groenewald. "Malachi`sEschatological Day of Yahweh: Its Dual Roles of Cultic Restorationand Enactment of Social Justice (Mal 3: 1-5 3: 16-4: 6)." OldTestament Essays 27.1(2014): 53-81.Retrieved fromhttp://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1010-99192014000100005.Accessed 5 April 2017.
Lind,Millard C. Monotheism,Power, Justice: Collected Old Testament Essays.New York: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015. Retrieved fromhttps://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=VEFgCgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=Law,+Power,+and+Justice+in+Ancient+Israel&ots=b5JLWbs7fR&sig=duzB5VgfM-l4cpSys-bVguPPBv4.Accessed 5 April 2017.
“NewInternational Version Bible (NIV).” Hodder & Stoughton, 1996.Retrieved from http://www.biblestudytools.com/niv/.Accessed 5 April 2017.
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