“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:3-5
“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8
“I start the day with Joyce Meyer,” a woman told me once. “And I end the day with Joyce Meyer,” she essentially told me.
A restaurant I knew of had Joyce Meyer and her show on the television for the customers and staff each morning, her face decorating the screen high above anyone passing by to watch.
“Did you see Joyce the other day? Did you hear Joyce?” I have heard people ask questions like these. “I was watching Joyce Meyer the other day,” people have told me. Then they excitedly declare what she said.
“I have trouble focusing on reading the Bible,” a woman told me. “But I can listen – ”
I thought the woman would tell me how she listened to the audio Bible instead. But instead, she spoke of a preacher she listened to by audio instead. She also has spoken of Joyce. Joyce. Joyce. Joyce.
“I love Joyce. I love Joyce. I love Joyce.” I have heard it so many times before. So very many.
But this isn’t about Joyce Meyer, you know. It could be about anyone in fact. Anyone who preaches God’s Word. Anyone who preaches God’s Word who does not just stand behind a pulpit but whom we foolishly, dangerously, irreverently, wrongfully, sinfully place before God.
I am the first to confess I did this for years. Not with Joyce. But with church pastors. And with several preachers on television. Some weren’t even true Bible teachers called by God. I had fallen prey to false teaching. But some were true teachers called by God. And still I revered them as idols. As gods. Above God. The way I sought them, listened to them, learned from them, hungered for them, looked to them for teaching, strength, wisdom, etc., I had positioned them above God in my heart and life. The Lord, by His mercy, led me to repentance.
True Bible teachers called by God have a place in the lives of Christ’s followers. But that place is never before God. The Lord Jesus Christ is the name above all names (Phil. 2:9). God will not share His glory. Our days, hearts, lives, decisions, none of this must revolve around humans even those called by God as pastors and teachers. God and His Word must come first without exception. If this is not the case, we must repent!