Mighty good stuff here, Pastor Harris. The Dagon correlation is priceless. I’m thinking about all the times I’ve picked up, dusted off, and propped up idols of my own. Idols that were clearly proving to be weak in the presence of God. Idols that after I’d submitted myself to the leadership, reverence, guidance, provision, and protection of God, I still found myself, just like our pagan teachers from 2 Kings 17: fearing the Lord and serving other gods out of previous habits and learning.
The lesser god that God was pulling me away from was possessions. I was proud of the things I had. My home, the neighborhood, the curb appeal, the beautiful furniture and art inside did’t just belong to me, they were extensions of me. When God started to show me how I trusted in those possessions as the indication of my value, when He started to show me how comfortable I was to hide behind that image I’d created, every time He’d knock my “Dagon” down, I’d pick him back up and put him right back on his pedestal (in the presence of God)!!!
I continued to do that until finally God had had enough. It was clear I wouldn’t let myself go enough to make the necessary adjustments in the presence of my lesser god of possession and image, so God, Excellent Father that He is, began to take those things from out before me. He did it in two ways.
First, He began to touch my heart to start giving my money to the Kingdom. The last couple of years I was at the post office, I started to give my money in ways people would, I’m sure, be real quick to call foolish. In essence, God was asking me for more than I even had to give, but I knew it was Him. I gave in trust. After about 18 months the dust settled, only then could I actually ‘see’ what God had done. I’d given over $7,000 above my tithe to my church, had no way to track what I’d given outside the church doors, and was in a deeper financial hole than I can even explain.
At that same time He’d turned me into a walking sweepstakes, God was asking for my things as well. This started more gradually and more cheaply than the amounts of money He was asking me to share. He starts speaking into my spirit, “Give her that cd…” “Her that book…” “And her those earrings…” Nothing majorly alarming, so everything was cool.
But I remember the first time God asked me to give something substantial & costly. Something I adored. It was a statue. One of the numbered Thomas Blackshear statues: African Queen. She was in simple but beautiful regalia, riding a zebra. I don’t know if God has never been so ignored as the igg I put on Him when He started asking me to give her away. But He kept asking. I broke. She was a major test for me. When I finally submitted, it was on like the pot of neck bones Big Mama “nem” are prone to have going on the stove…Lol…!!!
The prints I’d proudly framed started coming off the walls; clothes with black labels started leaving the closets; the real jewelry, the stamped stuff, God had me giving away, sometimes to women I barely knew. When I came to myself (I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but I’m serious)… When I came to myself, I realized for the first time that all that, the money & possessions give away had happened at the same time. God strengthens us to help us perform Him Word. I was fresh out of a whirlwind of the Scripture in Matthew 6:3…When thou doest thine alms, let not they left hand know what thy right hand doeth.
I’m telling you, Pastor, my finances were a hot skillet mess. I couldn’t pick Dagon up to save my life. I didn’t even try, as bad as I wanted to, I didn’t even try. Would you believe that THAT’s when God told me to leave the post office? Again, here’s where the people say “Fool…You left your job with your mortgage behind, literally NO money outside some Thrift Savings, and no real plan for what was next?” Yep. That’s exactly what I did.
I didn’t lose my house, Pastor Harris. I gave it away, not cheerfully mind you. I ached. I sulked. I cried. I let it weigh me down for many many many days, but still, I let it go. I knew how to keep it. I knew the game…who to call and exactly how to compromise myself and my convictions to keep that house ‘in my name’. But I chose not to because somewhere in all the stripping away, God taught me if I’m going to have anything of real value in this life, I’ve got to be done with doing & wanting it in dependence of the fair opinion of others or for my own name’s sake. I know a better Name now. I know the Name of the One Who made me to understand that I am not what I have, or where I live, or what I wear, or what I make after taxes.
You are so right that there’s nothing wrong with much of what we listed in Boot Camp as our lesser gods. God is surely going to give me another home one day so much more glorious than the one I sowed. The jewelry, the art, the clothes, the furniture…all of it, every single item and more will be added by Him because He’s faithful to His Word in Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. I remember asking God in desperate confusion, “God this seems cruel. Why did you create me to like nice things just to strip me of everything?” But God isn’t cruel. He’s an adoring Father always committed to teaching His higher ways. The deal was though, I didn’t own nice things, nice things owned me!
God was proving Himself to me. Again, the Scripture in Malachi 3:10 tells us that we can’t out give God, it’s all His anyway. I haven’t worked conventionally since the financial ruin but God has fed me, clothed me, and sheltered me in great bounty. What He was asking me to give during that time was the seed of the harvest He feeds me from today. I’m going to cry as I say this: God hasn’t told me one lie. He hasn’t let me down, or led me astray not once. Even when it hurts me to my core, I know He’s right. He’s been so mightily faithful in blessing. He IS whatever we need. If we’ll trust God and allow Him to lead us, He’ll take the idols out of our presence…in fact, He’s the only one that can. My Dagon is gone, no longer the god of my fertility, of my ability to produce, but there are others. There are always others. And so I stay on His potter’s wheel.
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