I’m a huge fan of muscle cars. They rock. Muscle cars came into popularity back in the 50’s and 60’s. Some point to the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 as the original muscle car. A muscle car is strong, big, and fast. Muscle cars have big V-8 engines with high horse power and torque. They’re strong. They’re powerful. And they just look mean and fierce. Back in the day muscle cars ranged from the Ford Thunderbird to the Pontiac Firebird and the GTO. In the late 60’s and into the 70’s the muscle cars were amazing, beautiful works of steel and craftsmanship. The engines were huge with big carburetors, engines constantly being worked on and tweaked for the ultimate horse power and fuel use.
Then there was the gas shortage and crisis. Cars became fuel efficient. They became aerodynamic. They became plastically and bubblelike. Basically, they became ugly. The 1980’s Mustang is perfect proof of how horrible the 80’s and early 90’s were to cars. The muscle car was almost obsolete and extinct.
Yet there has been a resurgence of muscle cars in recent years. Dodge released the Charger in 2005 and a little later the Challenger came back. The Shelby GT Cobra Mustang made famous by Steve McQueen came back with a vengeance. The poor Firebird will not come back because Pontiac is no more.
There are car shows all over the place. People pull p with their pride and joys, hoods open, tweaked engines crafted and cared for by sweat, blood, and tears (and possibly a lot of bad words) showing the power and horses under the hood. All monuments to awesomeness, speed, power, and strength. All give worth, reverence, and respect. Just don’t touch it the car.
You ask some car owners about their muscle car, and they will go in depth into the history of how they got it, the work and time put into it, along with all the technical jargon you just smile and nod at because it’s all Greek to you. It’s almost a type of religion for some of these gearheads.
I love muscle cars. I think they’re awesome. I’ve studied up on them, point them out to my kiddos (both my son and daughter love muscle cars now), and have a solid respect for them. But I don’t worship them. It’s not a religious experience for me to hear the sound of a 1968 GTO engine rev at it’s highest RPM and peel off down the asphalt.
I thought about this, this morning while reading through Hosea. Hosea was a prophet who spoke out against the kingdom of Israel for leaving the one true God behind to pursue man made idols, images of deities of the land, usually Baal or Asher, fertility gods and goddesses.
“With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves…This calf–a metalworker has made it; it is not God. It will be broken in pieces.” Hosea 8:4,6
The prophet Habakkuk speaks about idols as well
“Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches a lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood ‘Come to life!’ Or to the lifeless stone ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.” Habakkuk 2:18-19
God said that his people were not to make idols out of anything from the created world around them (Exodus 20:4-6). God Himself spoke form the top of a mountain to Moses. These idols were lifeless and voiceless, yet the one true living God was a live and speaking.
But why not have idols? Why not other gods? Idols were made by human hands, crafted with care, covered in gold, and then bowed down to by it’s makers saying that it made them.
But we don’t have other gods or idols today. May I point out muscle cars maybe? Or sporting events? Or work? Or money? And idol is something you place at the same level as God or even higher than God. An idol is something you put your focus, time, energy, money, and resources on the most. An idol becomes a god you worship instead of God himself.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all gearheads and muscle car enthusiasts are idolatrous heathens worthy of hell. Not in the least. Think about it this way: Where is your treasure?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
So, where is your heart at? What do you treasure most? What do you put your most focus on? There is where your heart is truly at.
We all have idols set up in our lives (me included). These idols need to come crashing down. Things, stuff, muscle cars, the Chicago Bears (gasp), gadgets and iPhones (double gasp) are all temporary man made things not worthy of our time, effort, or devotion. God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, Jesus who is, was, and always will be, is worthy.
So, where is your treasure at? Muscle cars or something else? Where your treasure is, is where your heart is, and that is where your worship is.
Focus on Jesus, focus on God, and see how the importance of things change, and your focus shifts. Something amazing will happen when you begin to drive the muscle car instead of worshiping it.