“So Michal let David down through the window, and he went out and fled and escaped. Michal took the household idol and laid it on the bed, and put a quilt of goats’ hair at its head, and covered it with clothes.” I Samuel 19:12-13
This is one of the many occasions when King Saul is trying to kill David. Michal helps David escape and uses the “household idol” to deceive her father. It must have been a fairly large object for it to pass as a full grown man. This is one of those passages that is frustrating in its lack of detail and generates more questions than answers.
What is this thing? Is it supposed to represent Yahweh or some false pagan deity?
Why does God’s anointed King have a household idol?
Why does godly David allow this thing to exist?
Is this household idol evidence of the extent of Saul’s departure from God?
I don’t have the answers but this passage got me thinking about my family. Do we have any household idols? Are there things that we prop up and put on a pedestal, knocking God out of His proper place in our home? Entertainment, hobbies, a comfortable lifestyle are always a focus in my home. These are things that might be harmless on the surface but can quickly start to suck up our time and resources and pull us away from God.
The scary thing is that even family its self can become a household idol. We have all seen the destruction that a broken home causes and the culture around us bears witness that there is a great need for fathers to be more involved. But what is the focus of our involvement?
I spend time with my wife and kids. I’m involved in their lives and their interests. I support their dreams and provide the foundation and skills so that they can be successful and become productive members of society. But to what end? Is all my time and attention and effort simply so they can be good citizens, secure a good living, and continue in the lifestyle that I have provided for them? Is my goal to love them so that they are psychologically healthy and don’t have to spend a fortune on therapy in the future?
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” Psalm 127:3-4
When a warrior shoots an arrow, where does it go? Exactly where the warrior wants it to! What am I aiming at with children? What are my goals for my family?
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
“Bring them up” means to nourish, to nurture, to “feed to the desired outcome”. What am I feeding my kids? What is my family growing up to become?
The solution is not to cut all the entertainment, recreational, educational, and sports related activities out of your family life and replace them with around the clock bible study. The solution is to more fully understand our purpose. We were created to bring glory to our God. That purpose should be reflected in everything we do. Every family activity can focus on who God is and what He has done for us.
The ride to baseball practice can be a discussion about the wisdom of God and how he designed such an amazing body. The family vacation can involve the power of God reflected in creation and the importance of rest as we remember the story of creation. Cleaning up and doing chores can focus on the blessing of being able to work and satisfaction of doing all our work for the Lord. Struggling over school work can be combined with a short bible study to emphasize the education with eternal rewards. Dealing with the heartbreak of boyfriends/girlfriends and broken relationships is an opportunity to show God’s comfort. Waiting at the bus stop is the perfect opportunity to thank God for the goodnight of sleep and pray for a productive day. And showing love to our wives and our children in so many different ways should be a reflection of the love the Father has shown to us. In all things we can bring glory to God.
“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:7
Out of all the gifts and blessings that God has bestowed on me, my family is one of the only things that I can take with me into eternity.