I don’t know if meolotry is a real word, but if it isn’t it ought to be. Whether it’s in any dictionary, you can guess what meolotry means: the worship of me. Take Haman, for example. He somehow got the idea that he was worthy of praise and adoration. His elevated opinion of himself made it impossible for him to be content as long as one person refused to join his fan club. It positively infuriated Haman that Mordecai refused to bow to him. Nor was it enough that Mordecai should die; Haman hungered for the death of all Jewish people—thus he would eradicate from the kingdom that entire element of people who would not indulge him in his meolotry.

Besides, Haman was an Agagite (see Esther 3:1), probably a descendent of King Agag of the Amalekites, and as such he would not have liked Jews much anyway. If you go back to 1 Samuel 15, you see that the Lord had commanded King Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites and all that they had because of the way they had ambushed the children of Israel on their way out of Egypt. Saul, however, thought it would be a waste to destroy everything, so he saved what he felt like saving, including the king and all his livestock, and destroyed only what he thought was worthless. That was the beginning of the end for King Saul, who had taken it upon himself to modify God’s command and then pretend he had actually obeyed: Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, ‘Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD'” (1 Samuel 15:13a).

Come to think of it, Saul had a bit of a problem with meolotry too, didn’t he? Saul’s disobedience and pretended innocence showed that he valued himself and his own inclinations more than he valued God. All of us fall short of God’s commands at times, but when we do, have we the chutzpah like Saul did, to announce what a great job we’ve done obeying the Lord? Saul tried to be subtle about his meolotry, like maybe God wouldn’t notice, and then he tried blaming it on his people, like God wouldn’t know the difference (v. 20). The prophet Samuel came and executed King Agag, but some of his descendents, or at least relatives, must have survived—like Haman.

Whereas we can pretty well recognize Haman’s kind of megalomaniacal behavior as twisted and wicked, what shall we say about Saul? Isn’t it kind of easy to feel sorry for him? He did most of what God wanted in battle. Can’t we excuse him a little? After all, none of us is perfect.

It is important to recognize King Saul’s disobedience for what it was: seeds of meolotry that would later blossom and bear very bad fruit. Saul started out rather a modest man who knew that apart from God’s spirit, he was no king. But the minute he began justifying his disobedience, he was in trouble. By the time David entered the scene, Saul was ruling without God’s spirit and clinging so tightly to his throne that he was willing to turn against those who were closest to him. That is what meolotry does. It turns us against anyone whom we see as a threat to our own power. Meolotry is as common as the sin nature itself. The seeds of meolotry may be hard to recognize and easy to excuse, but if we don’t call them what they are, they will blossom and bear bad fruit.

Thank God, He is always merciful when we admit our disobedience to Him. When we seek His power, not our own, and protect His glory, not our own, we sow seeds of righteousness that will yield a harvest of peace.

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Ruth Rosen | San Francisco

Newsletter Editor, Missionary

Ruth Rosen, daughter of Jews for Jesus founder Moishe Rosen, is a staff writer and editor with Jews for Jesus. Her parents raised her with a sense of Jewishness as well as "Jesusness." Ruth has a degree in biblical studies from Biola College in Southern California and has been part of our full-time staff since 1979. She's toured with Jewish gospel drama teams and participated in many outreaches. She writes and edits quite a few of our evangelistic resources, including many broadside tracts. One of her favorites is, "Who Needs Politics." Ruth also helps other Jewish believers in Jesus tell their stories. That includes her father, whose biography she authored in what she says was "one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life." For details, or to order your copy of Called to Controversy the Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus, visit our online store. Ruth also writes shorter "faith journey" stories in books like Jewish Doctors Meet the Great Physician as well as in booklets like From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home. She edits the Jews for Jesus Newsletter for Christians who want to pray for our ministry and our missionaries. In her spare time, Ruth enjoys writing fiction and playing with her dog, Annie whom she rescued. Ruth says, "Some people say that rescue dogs have issues, and that is probably true. If dogs could talk, they'd probably say that people have issues, and that is probably even more true. I'm glad that God is in the business of rescuing people, (and dogs) despite—or maybe because of—all our issues." You can follow Ruth Rosen on facebook or as RuthARosen on twitter.

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