by Tom Wacaster
(originally written September 2015)

September is the month for the three-week Hindu festival. Since my annual trip to India is usually in September, I always manage to catch at least a part of the foolishness that is associated with the worship to the false gods of Hinduism, and I keep telling myself that one of these days I plan to bypass September and schedule my trip to this country on another date. So far that has only been an unfulfilled intention.

It is hard to describe the devotion that multitudes pay to their idols. Parades during the Hindu festival are common, along with the drum beating, dancing in the street, and loud music that goes along with these parades. For the most part the roads in India are very narrow, and if you happen to come upon one of these parades it is a challenge to pass the various wagons that are being used to carry their god to yet another destination while calling out for the people to come bow down to their god. The people dancing in the street seem to have no concern for the traffic and will almost dare our driver to get close to them. So much more could be said about the parades, merriment, and false worship that goes along with the celebration during the Hindu festival, but I will move on to the subject at hand.

Every city, town, hamlet and village have its Hindu temple; and in many cases they have multiple temples, some large, some small. No expense is spared to give their “god” the worship they seem to think it is worthy of receiving (I say “it” for the simple reason that is what it is; an “it” and not a “he”). The idol is usually placed toward the back wall of the temple, with lights illuminating the small room in which it sits, surrounded by flowers, ornaments draping the grotesque figure that has been placed there. Meanwhile the worshippers bow before their “god” in the vain hope that some blessing might be granted from this lifeless piece of ceramic or stone carving. It is a sad scene to behold, and one that would, no doubt, provoke Paul’s spirit as did the idols in Athens upon his arrival to that city. Since the Hindus evidently enjoy taking their idol out of the “box” from time to time and parade it up and down the streets, occasionally I will see a temple that has had the idol temporarily removed, evidently placed on some wagon and paraded up and down the streets.

It was very late Friday night and Nehemiah Gootam and I were returning to Kakinada after preaching in Modekurru and Uppalaguptam. I was surprised at how many of the idol worshippers were still in the streets, dancing in the presence of their god (now sitting on some wagon for all to see) and encouraging others to participate in the merrymaking. Our driver managed to navigate the van through the masses of people, past the wagon blaring with music, past the Hindu god that sat on the wagon, and past the parade, and resume our journey on toward Kakinada. About two blocks away we passed the “temple” where the idol appeared to have once sat, for I did not see an idol inside. The gates were closed and padlocked; not with one lock, but with at least three. As we passed the padlocked temple I thought, “Why would anyone want to worship a god that could be padlocked inside this little house or locked out once it had been removed from the temple and placed on the wagon?”

The Bible has numerous examples where locks were used to confine people, but never is it said that anyone was ever able to lock God in or out! Saul of Tarsus used locks to incarcerate the Christians but would himself one day serve time in a Roman prison cell for his faith in Jesus. Herod killed James and then arrested Peter and put him in jail for safe keeping until the evil potentate could take the life of yet another apostle, all in an attempt to placate the Jewish authorities who stopped their ears to the preaching of God’s word. Herod would soon learn that locks and bars could not hold God’s chosen people unless it was within the divine purpose to do so. The apostles were arrested in Jerusalem and charged by the Sanhedrin not to preach in the name of Jesus Christ. Daniel was arrested and thrown into the lion’s den, Jeremiah placed in dark damp well, and some of the prophets had to hide in caves to escape the wrath of king Ahab and his wife Jezebel. But never do I read of anyone incarcerating God. The thought is almost laughable. Yet men have attempted to lock God out of their lives, and my even be able to successfully do so for a limited period of time, but in the final analysis it is they who have become the prisoners to their own sin, being in bondage to that which they serve. The atheists, modernists, liberals, God-haters and God-deniers would, were it within their power to do so, lock up every Christian and throw away the key, thinking that in the process they have stopped the gospel, and somehow incarcerated God. But they will not succeed.

As we passed that parade, I looked back at the locked Hindu temple, and the crowd in the distance as they marched off into the dark night. How said that on judgment day they will learn that you might be able to padlock the door at the temple of some Hindu god, but our God will not, and cannot, be padlocked; and to Him shall all men eventually bow the knee and confess the name of Jesus Christ.

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