THE situation in India, as I have witnessed escalating in recent days, is acutely distressing with the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis gripping the populous Asian nation.

This pandemic has claimed more than 230 000 lives while 22 million have been infected.

Surely, the world’s second most populous country, with at least 1,4 billion people, needs urgent global attention to curtail the harrowing scenes.

While the world’s attention has been on the high death toll of more than 2 000 people daily, mine has since one Saturday morning been fixed on some communities there taking down statues of their ‘gods’ in anger.

They are enraged as to why these so-called deities have abandoned them at their hour of need when the COVID-19 pandemic rampages with no end in sight.

Others have been burning these idols in distress as the scourge mercilessly claims the lives of their beloved ones.

Comically, all these so-called gods that have been worshipped devotedly over centuries are made from wooden, metal, stones and various chemical-based paints.

The belief in false gods, idols to be precise, is rife.

I don’t understand how humans would forfeit Jehovah God at the expense of a false god made from wood, metal, stone and paint.

Alas, the belief in idol gods is not peculiar to India, where there are more than 300 gods.

Other Asian countries that have placed their trust in their idol gods comprise Bangladesh, Burma, China, Japan, Pakistan, among others.

However, I single out India in this week’s True Gospel because of how majority Indians responded to their idol gods that have not shielded them when it mattered the most.

Many people have died while waiting for hospital beds. Many hospitals have run out of oxygen supplies. Crematoriums have also run out of space. Some are operating non-stop in performing what is widely known as ‘last rites’.

In the capital, Delhi, health workers have been forced to build makeshift funeral pyres. Parks and other empty spaces are being utilised for cremations. Authorities have reportedly cut down trees in city parks to use as firewood.

Families have had to wait hours before being allowed to cremate their dead and have also been asked to help with cremations by piling wood and assisting in other rituals.

This commotion has left the majority without options than to do away with false gods.

Now, as I was closely following the news bulletin unfolding on the television, a biblical verse regarding false gods (idols) at the time of Prophet Elijah immediately rang the bell.

During the time of Prophet Elijah, the nation of Israel was ruled by King Ahab, who did what was very evil in the eyes of Jehovah God, along with his wife Jezebel.

Ahab misled the entire nation to turn them away from the true Jehovah and made them believe in a false god, called Baal.

When people reject the true Jehovah God, preferring false gods, they worship only popularity, financial achievements / breakthroughs, successes, power and control / domination.

This is when Prophet Elijah picked this kind of god, who is selfish and false arguing such a god must be exposed. Then prophet Elijah issued a challenge to King Ahab, his wife Jezebel, and the false prophets of Baal.

Here we see Ahab summoning all the people of Israel and the prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel where Elijah stood in front of them to argue there is only one true living God, who is Jehovah.

According to 1 Kings 18:22-39 of the New Living Translation: “Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only prophet of the LORD who is left, but Baal has 450 prophets. Now bring two bulls. The prophets of Baal may choose whichever one they wish and cut it into pieces and lay it on the wood of their altar, but without setting fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood on the altar, but not set fire to it.”

“Then call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!” And all the people agreed. Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.”

“So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no reply of any kind. Then they danced, hobbling around the altar they had made. About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he (Baal) is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!”

“So they shouted louder, and following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no sound, no reply, no response. Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been torn down.

“He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the LORD. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.”

“After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench. At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command.

“O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself. “Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The LORD—he is God! Yes, the LORD is God!”

Elijah was entirely right!

Scriptures strongly advise against following idols other than the true Jehovah God. This is called idolatry.

Idols have today successfully separated humans from their Creator Jehovah. Idolatry has consumed humankind.

Jehovah has taught us that only fugitives from the nations of this world are the ones ignorant of the word of a true living Jehovah as they carry about their unproven beliefs of idols of wood, stones or metals, who pray to gods that cannot save.

Isaiah 45:20 of the New International Version states: “Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.”

People of God, humans who cling to worthless gods (idols) always deny themselves Jehovah’s endless love.

Jonah 2:8 of the New International Version confirms: “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them,” while Psalm 16:4 of the New International Version says: “Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips.”

Do not forget that Jehovah God, who created us with love, does not condone people whom He created to turn against Him at the expense of praising and glorifying a false god.

“You shall have no other gods before me,” reads Exodus 20:3-6.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, those who believe in this True Gospel, say amen!

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