Now Rachel had taken Laban’s household idols, put them in the saddlebag of the camel, and sat on them. Laban searched the whole tent but found nothing. Gen. 31:34
I just want to start by saying that I have never physically sat on an idol. I bet you haven’t either. Unless, of course, you worship your recliner. If you kick people out of your favorite chair when they try to sit in it, if you stop when you walk by to lovingly rub the upholstery, if you lie awake at night thinking about how you can’t wait to sit in it again tomorrow…then you might be sitting on your idol. Otherwise, the lesson here is probably more figurative than literal.
You might read about Rachel sitting on the idols and think, “Wow, that’s weird. And it sure couldn’t have been comfortable.” That was my first thought, too. I mean, what was she thinking? She was ticked at her dad (14-16). Is that why she stole the idols? Was it because she was moving and wanted to hang on to a piece of her past (17-18)? Or did she just think those idols would look really cool on the mantle in her new living room? The reason doesn’t really matter. The fact is, Rachel wanted to hang on to something that she knew she shouldn’t have in her life.
See the analogy? We sit on idols, too. Lots of times, we know we’re holding onto something God has told us is wrong. We sit on it, though, because we don’t want to give it up. Sometimes it’s a bad thing, like a sinful activity or a negative attitude. But we can also make idols out of something that’s good – a talent, a friendship, work, success, a possession, family…anything. Stop and think about that for a bit. Even your kids can be an idol, a point God made clear to Abraham (Gen. 22), and Isaac didn’t even play Little League.
The funny thing is, we can hold onto our idols, but we’re not really hiding them. God knows they’re there. Just like Laban knew it. And still we pretend – “Sorry, God, I can’t get up right now.”
Speaking as one who has come up off her own saddlebag recently, I can tell you this – when God tells you to let go of something, it’s much better to go ahead and give it to Him voluntarily instead of waiting for Him to pry it from your cold, lifeless fingers. It only gets more painful the longer you refuse.
This is a big deal. I’m convinced it is the very reason why so many believers live lives that do not reflect the abundant, powerful life that is described in God’s Word. We say we love God with all our hearts, and we want to mean it. We sing about it, even. But the truth of the matter is that many of us are privately loving something or someone else more. We are sitting on idols, and it’s time to get up.