Feeding on ashes...

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In one twenty-four hour period, recently, two celebrities died.

Both starred in a bunch of films.

Both had stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Both amassed fortunes.

Both had been married three times...

One took his life in a ghastly suicide.

The other died old and wealthy, wearing a necklace of pride (Psalm 73:6).

Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.

Robin Williams was known by everyone from ten to seventy. Few of his fans were aware of his depression or financial woes, or even that he was sixty-three years old. Sixty-three is, after all, the new forty-five. Most thought he was at the top of his game, so what a shock to find him self-destructing!

Bacall was nearly forgotten. In an interview given just prior to death, she spoke of the past and present using vulgar words. Pride was perhaps the strongest message communicated. When I asked young (under thirty) people if they had heard of Lauren Bacall’s death, they responded “Who is Lauren Bacall?”

I quoted her, "You know how to whistle, don't you? You just put your lips together and blow."

They replied, “Oh, yeah.”

Famous lines survive longer than the actors who spoke them. This is unfortunate. Don't men and women become stars so they can gain immortality and transcendence?

Transcendence. Surpassing everyone in fame. Being a household name. Having a presence everywhere—every DVD rack and every Red-box. Iconic.

Every idol aspires to transcendence. The idol must bear the idolater beyond mortality. Being unconstrained himself, he or she must bear those who worship him past the limits of man's normal life.

The Internet was full of accounts of the lives and deaths of these two souls and people responded to the news in different ways. To quote a headline announcing Bacall’s death, “Lauren Bacall was the last of the Hollywood greats – but she also transcended them all.”

Transcendence means a few people knew who you were for a very short time in history.

A friend of Robin Williams was quoted, saying, “He told me his heart surgery in 2009 had left him feeling like a mortal for the first time in his life, and he didn’t like how that felt.” Williams was fifty-eight before he began feeling “like a mortal."

These two idols were certainly constrained. All false gods are constrained.

As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold, And a silversmith fashions chains of silver. He who is too impoverished for such an offering Selects a tree that does not rot; He seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman To prepare an idol that will not totter.” (Isaiah 40:19, 20)

So the craftsman encourages the smelter, And he who smooths metal with the hammer encourages him who beats the anvil, Saying of the soldering, “It is good”; And he fastens it with nails, So that it will not totter.” (Isaiah 41:7)

The death of a famous actor brings disillusionment. Suddenly, the enchantment is gone. An actor topples and an actress rots away. The false belief is exposed: “There is no transcendence here.”

Scripture says the idolater “feeds on ashes." He can't see there is a lie in his right hand (an idol he calls his god that he himself formed - (Isaiah 44:20). Sometimes the lie in our hand comes in a two-disc set with bonus features.

Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.” (Jeremiah 10:11)