Tag Archives: idols

July 5; The Answer

2 Chronicles 29:1-31:1; Psalms 66-67

I believe that, as the Jews were worshiping pretend gods, deep inside they knew something was not quite right. Something was missing. Then, when Hezekiah cleaned house, restored the temple, reinstated the Passover and worship of God, the Jews could hardly contain their joy.

They came from all around, traveled many difficult miles to get to Jerusalem, to go to where God was.

Have you ever been really, really thirsty? Your tongue probably felt like it was made of cotton balls, you might have begun to see stars. When you took your first sip of water – what was it like? Could you feel the moisture slide down your throat? Were you aware of every drop as it worked its way through your body, refreshing and energizing you down to  your fingers and toes? With each swallow you began to return to your former state of health.

I think that was kind of what the Jews must have experienced as they returned to God.

I look at our present day world full of restless people. I see them worshiping all kinds of pretend gods: science, self, religion, money, relationship, excitement, whatever. And I know the reason they are restless is because deep down they know they are missing something. They are dying of thirst.

Using my analogy, I see these restless people trying to satisfy their thirst by eating potato chips, or drinking toilet water, or convincing themselves they aren’t really dying of thirst.

They make new idols, thinking that’s the answer. Or they turn their attention within themselves believing they’ll find what they need. They might tell themselves they’ve found what they were missing, but deep down inside they keep looking. The restlessness continues.

Friend, I know the answer to the world’s problem. I know it’s exactly the same answer we read about in the lives of the Jews under Hezekiah. It’s what Jesus called, “Living Water.” It’s Jesus Himself.

You might disagree. But that doesn’t change what is true. You might choose to continue to try to find fulfillment making pretend idols, and trying to quench your thirst with pebbles. But I am here to tell you, the answers you are looking for are written to you in love from God Himself. It’s in the pages of the Bible.

I know that if you read it, if you accept who God says He is, and allow Jesus to change you, you will find the answers you were looking for all along.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that (His) ways may be known on earth, (His) salvation among all the nations. (Psalm 67:1)

 

July 3; God and gods

2 Kings 17:3-41, 16:19-26, 18:1-2; Isaiah 5:1-30; 2 Chronicles 28:26-27, 29:1; I Chronicles 4:34-43

The Assyrians had captured the Jews and hauled them off as slaves. Now the king wanted to repopulate the land with people from neighboring nations. These people, of course, came with their portable little gods in tow.

But the king also made sure the new inhabitants were taught about the “god of the land,” and assigned a priest to tell the people how to worship God.

I think the people probably tried to understand about the God of the Jews. But 2 Kings 17 tells us each national group made its own gods. Later in chapter 17 it says this:

They worshiped the Lord, but they also appointed all sorts of their own people to officiate for them as priests in the shrines at the high places. They worshiped the Lord, but they also served their own gods in accordance with the customs of the nations from which they had been brought.

Let’s not let that describe us. Oh, I’d be surprised if many of you bow down every day to a shiny little statue sitting on your bedside table. I doubt you sacrifice a child in the fire Sunday morning before you head off to church. But God is asking, what or who is it you and I truly worship?

A relationship? A career? A bank account or fame? Do we spend more time manicuring our lawns than we do serving God? Does our time in God’s Word compare with our screen-time? Are we trying to worship God and something else at the same time?

We need to consider our worship. It is an eternal question each of us must answer. But here’s the other thing that stood out to me this morning.

Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did.

I think we need to consider that. We love our children. We adore our grandchildren. And they are taking their cues from us. Ask yourself this: Is my idol of self, or money, or health, or anything else worth my eternal soul, and the eternal souls of those precious people in my life?

Are we going to serve God or gods? Do we want our children worshiping gods… or God?

 

Feb 9 – You Can Fool Some Of The People Some Of The Time

Exodus 30-32

Really Aaron? “This is the god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt”? (32:4) A statue you yourself made from gold, and you want to pass it off as a god? Did you really think your brother Moses was going to believe that you threw some gold earrings into a fire and out popped this idol all by itself? Do you think anyone in his right mind would believe such a story? Are you saying you believe it? Seriously?

Ok, friend. How many times have you (have I) rationalized our own bad behavior? Ever say, “He made me do it”? Ever try to convince someone that God’s ok with you not going to church because you’re working extra hours to get that promotion? Ever try to talk someone into agreeing with you that getting drunk on the weekends doesn’t mean you have a drinking problem? Ever look at Playboy for the great articles?

What was God’s response to Aaron and the sin committed by the children of Israel? Don’t kid yourself into thinking He’s any less angry with us when we disobey.

I can read these verses in Exodus and shake my head at Aaron’s audacity. Then I look in the mirror and realize I look an awfully lot like Aaron.

Maybe in some parallel universe we might get someone to believe a gold calf emerged from a fire on its own. Maybe you might convince someone that the sin you are committing isn’t really a sin after all.

But you will never fool God.

Dear Father, I hate it when I recognize myself in some of the Bible’s accounts. I know there have been times when I rationalize sin in my life, and I am sorry. You have a right to be angry with me. But I don’t want You to be. God, may I identify sin in my life, call it what it is, and repent of it. Stop me when I try to convince myself or someone else that any sin is ok. I lay down all my defenses. Guilty. And forgiven. Thank You. In Jesus’ Name.

May 7

2 Samuel 5:13-16, 13:1-15:6; I Chronicles 14:3-7, 3:4-9

Did you ever want something so badly you couldn’t think of anything else? This thing, or this person would become your obsession. You’d think about what it would be like to have it, you’d dream about it, agonize over it. You get to the point where you believe you’d never be happy without it.

Maybe wanting this thing began to effect your day-to-day. You became moody or depressed or angry. You may have prayed God would give it to you, even if you knew it was a sin. You convince yourself you deserve it.

But does getting that thing ever bring the happiness you envisioned? Amnon took Tamar and once he had sex with her he hated her. His obsession ruined his life, Tamar’s life, and effected his  entire family.

Do you find yourself thinking… I’d be happy “if”? If I got married, if I had a different job, if I had a nicer house or drove a better car.

God is reminding me that if my focus is on anything or anyone other than him I am worshiping an idol. And he is very adamant about me not worshiping anyone or anything but him.

Amnon allowed himself to entertain sinful thoughts which became his focus. As he continued to feed his thoughts they grew until he was out of control. The result? Let’s just say it ended badly for all of them.

May the thoughts we think, the desires of our hearts be acceptable to God. And if we find our focus is on anything other than God, may we recognize it as sin and repent of it before we, too, are out of control. 

 

April 2

Judges 18:1-31, 3:7-4:24

Where did Micah get the idea it was ok to worship God and still have household gods and idols in his home? He even hired himself his own live-in priest. He must have been feeling pretty holy.

Another question I have is why did the Danites think Micah had a good thing going? They convinced Micah’s priest to go with them and stole Micah’s idols. When they moved into their new city they set up the idols and hired priests. But 18:30 says… until the time of captivity of the land.

Yes, eventually God will allow another nation to defeat the Israelites. This is the beginning of decades of the Jews obeying God, drifting away from God, disobeying God, suffering because of it, then repenting. And every time they repent we’ll see that God is going to come to their rescue.

It’s no different with us. As I look at my own life I remember times much like what I described with Israel. And yes, God is faithful to forgive every time I go to him. But if I shake my head at Israel and ask, why didn’t they learn… I have to ask the same about myself.

God is very plain to say that we cannot have him and household gods and idols, too. We can’t serve two masters. He is a jealous God who demands all of our worship. Period.

When walking with the Lord, living in the Promised Land is so wonderful. Why would I settle for anything less… especially knowing there are consequences for disobedience.

Father, help me to recognize any household gods or idols that are creeping up in my life. May I be quick to eliminate anything that would come between me and you. Help me put into perspective relationships, entertainment, commitment, or anything else that would compete with my focus on you. And may I walk with you today as you deserve.

February 12

Exodus 30-33:6

This is one of those passages I read and just shake my head. What were they thinking? God had shown Himself to the Israelites through the plagues in Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, manna and quail, water from a rock, a pillar of fire and a cloud to guide and protect them. And, not least of all, they heard His voice on the mountain. Could He get any more real?

So why, after Moses had been gone for only 40 days, did they decide God was in a golden calf that they watched Aaron make out of their jewelry?

I don’t know what they were thinking but the Bible said they were out of control. No wonder God was angry enough to destroy them all.

But Moses rallied those who still had faith in God and all the Levites answered the call. Moses gave them each a sword and instructed them to go through the camp and kill everyone who had rejected God. 3,000 people died because they chose the idol over the one true God.

I’m glad God doesn’t want us to go about killing unbelievers. But do we see that, once again, God is demonstrating how serious he is about disobedience. When he says don’t worship anything but Me… He means it.

Lord, help us to examine ourselves and recognize those things, or positions, or people, or dreams that have crept to the front of the line. I want to be someone who worships You and You alone. I pray that we all will put aside everything that even hints at becoming more important than You. May you find us faithful today.