“Those who make [idols] will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. ” (New International Version, Ps. 115. 8) When a man spends immense amounts of time worshiping and dedicating himself to something, he grows to be like it. Whatever someone views as his god will shape him into behaving like that thing. Thus, those who worship a false god will become false and their ways will fail, while people who worship the true God will have life eternal in Him. These differences in worship are especially apparent when dealing with difficult circumstances, which reveal people’s true natures.
Agamemnon, Achilles, and Job react to and deal with adverse circumstances in the same way their gods do, either leading them to blessings or destruction. When Agamemnon does not get what he desires, he imitates his gods, especially Apollo, when he attempts to deal with the issue. Agamemnon’s primary conflict was over the girls that he won as war prizes after sacking a city in his conquest of Troy. To his demise, he carried off the beautiful girl, Chryseis, priestess to Apollo.
As priestesses were essentially mortal wives to the gods, Apollo was outraged when Chryseis was abducted and resolved to plague the Achaians until Chryseis was returned. After the death of many Greek warriors, Agamemnon consented to return the girl to the god, but his pride was wounded just as Apollo’s had been. Thus, he reacted in the same way his god did; he waged war until he fulfilled his lusts, regardless of the consequences. Missing Chryseis, Agamemnon set after Briseis, who had been given to Achilles.
Heedless of the damage his temper would cause, Agamemnon fought with Achilles until he was granted the girl of his dreams. Once he obtained her, the arguing simmered down, but the consequences did not disappear because he had “dishonored a great man, one whom the immortals honor, since [he had] taken his prize and [kept] it. ” (Homer 219) Because Agamemnon could not control his temper, Achilles refused to serve him and withdrew from the battle. In further detriment to Agamemnon, he did not even enjoy Briseis after he had won her, but instead returned her to Achilles just as he had taken her.
Just like Apollo, the god he worshiped, Agamemnon’s temper was quick to flare and impossible to satisfy, leading to the suffering of the Achaian army. While Achilles also responded with a strong temper when confronted with adversity, he imitated Hera more than Apollo and thus employed a different tactic when he did not get what he wants. When Agamemnon, in a heat of rage, proposed to take Briseis from him, Achilles resisted forcefully. However, his efforts were to no avail; Achilles was no rival to the power of Agamemnon and had to give up his war prize.
After this most coveted possession was taken from him, Achilles did not follow the model of Apollo, as Agamemnon did, but instead withdrew from the fighting. In doing so, he was imitating Hera, the wife of Zeus, whose first response in times of trouble was to pout until her needs were met. Like Agamemnon, Achilles, too, is unable to control his temper, but instead of acting out in wrath, he wallows in his anger and allows others to pay the consequence. Unfortunately for Achilles, even though he is nor fighting, he still must pay the same consequences as any other soldier.
Because Achilles stayed away from the battle for so long, his best friend, Patroklus, had to fight in his stead. This fight ended up costing Patroklus his life, bringing great grief to Achilles. For when Patroklus’ body was brought to Achilles, he “[let] fall warm tears as he saw his steadfast companion lying there on a carried litter and torn with the sharp bronze, the man he had sent off before with horses and chariot into the fighting; who never again came home to be welcomed. ” (Homer 402) When Achilles imitated
Hera, whom he viewed as a divinity, he suffered much pain that could have been avoided by handling the initial situation differently. In sharp contrast to Agamemnon and Achilles, Job does not react in a fit of rage to hard circumstances, but instead trusts God through them. Job was once a prosperous man, but God allowed Satan to test him, and Job had all of this possessions ripped away from him. However, he does not imitate the fickle gods of the ancient Greeks, but rather mirrors Jesus’ enduring character.
When his wife urged him to “Curse God and die! (New International Version, Job 2. 9) in order to be freed of his pain, he responded, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, an not trouble? ” (New International Version, Job 2. 10) Job does not blame God or rebel against Him in his suffering, but instead imitates the “may Your will be done” (New International Version, Matt. 26. 42) attitude that lesus later demonstrates. Rather than acting out in rage, Job shows that he can control his temper, crying out to God to relieve him of his sorrow, but never cursing Him.
Because he emulates the true God of the universe, his sorrows do not end in catastrophe like Agamemnon and Achilles’ do. Instead, after Job relied on God, his troubles were lifted and his fortunes restored twofold. (c. f. New International Version, Job 42. 10) Job’s story of pain is the only one with a happy ending because he trusted God through his painful circumstances. When Jesus ministered on earth, he taught that “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted… Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (New International Version, Matt. 5. 4,8)
God cares for those who are suffering, but only those who rely on Him will experience His joy in the midst of their sorrows. People who trust in God will be brought through their sorrows to the joy on the other side. On the other hand, people who trust in false gods react to sorrows in a rage that leads to destruction. As human mirrors, people such as Agamemnon, Achilles, and Job reflect their gods, and those who reflect false gods will fail just like the idols they create.