Marking Jewish Themes with Devotion
Sabbaths, Feasts, and More
“…the possibility that the temple of the great goddess Diana will lose its influence, and that Diana—this magnificent goddess worshiped not only throughout this part of Turkey but all around the world—will be forgotten!” (Acts 19:27b NLT).
I blinked my eyes in disbelief as I stood among the ruins of ancient Ephesus a few years ago.marveled that this archaic city remained so intact. My husband and I soaked it in as we thoughtfully meandered from the main city gates past the incredible relics, columns, statues, and mosaics. As we passed a co-ed public restroom just off a cobbled-stoned street, I could almost feel the pulse of the ancient life that breathed there once. On we went to the library and to the arena where the famous Acts 19 riot took place.
Standing in that coliseum, I could hear the crowd in my mind cry out for Diana, goddess of the hunt, who was said to have fallen as a wood-carved image from heaven, her chest laden with many breasts as the mother of all living things. She had been worshiped here as the deity of reproduction for men, animals and all life. Even to this day, parts of her many carved statues can be found in museums.
Acts 19 tells us that a business owner, Demetrius, warned his workers that the apostle Paul had been telling the people of Ephesus that the silver, stone, and wood idols made in the image of Diana were not gods at all. Many Ephesians became enlightened by the love and knowledge of Jesus, crucified and risen. They stopped believing in Diana. This influenced and diminished Demetrius’ business. He feared the idol-making enterprise would collapse altogether and even that Diana would no longer be worshiped in Turkey and abroad. A riot ensued for two hours!
Oh, the power of the spoken word that sets the spirit free! There are many false idols in the American culture and in the nations that compete for our devotion. At the Grammys recently, the whole world watched Beyonce, dressed like a Madonna and resembling the ancient stone figure of Diana, strutting on stage with a haloed dancers around her in mock worship.
God alone is to be worshiped. He will tolerate no other gods.
Paul spoke out against Diana. His message was simple — that she was not the one true God, not a god at all. I feel compelled to do the same in my sphere of influence. Beyonce is not to be worshiped nor is any other rock star, idol, celebrity or political leader for that matter. God alone in the form of Jesus Christ is to receive all our adoration and praise.
If everyone took this message aloud and abroad from shore to shore, we may stir some riots and close some businesses too. We may change the climate of the culture by declaring these idols are fake. May the false idols of our day lose influence and be forgotten!
Replica of Lady of Ephesus found in the Amphitheater of Lepcis Magna
Beyonce performance at the Grammys, 2017. Hands extended in mock worship.
For more study…
Exodus 20:1-15, Romans 1:25, Isaiah 44:6-20
Work it into daily life…
Paul declared a simple, bold message, “Diana is not a god.” People began to believe and turn away. It shook and changed the culture. Identify three people in your life to whom you can deliver this same simple message. Pray for them faithfully and ask that their eyes of understanding would be opened. Ask for opportunities to share the true message of Good News.
©Bonnie Saul Wilks