Monday, November 5, 2018

A Tale of Two Nations

They forsook all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him. So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.  2 Kings 17:16-18

Idols.  This word usually evokes thoughts of statues.  But an idol is anythingthat we set our hearts on that is not God.  Anything that rules us.  Anything that we elevate or “bow” down to in our lives.  We are not living in a country where worshipping statues is a predominant religious practice, but we worship plenty of false gods.  They look different, but they mean the same thing. The false gods we worship look more like material possessions, money, careers, power, food, people, social media, and even ministry.  When we elevate these things in our lives above God, we miss the fulfillment and joy that comes from making the One True God the most important thing in our lives. 
The passage above is the story of the downfall of the Israelites, a nation who let false gods destroy their lives.  For years they ignored God’s command to not have any other gods before Him.  Over and over they continued to worship false gods, graven images, and statues, believing they were above God’s judgement. They were caught up in all kinds of bad stuff – completely rejecting God.  Finally, God had enough and as a result of their disobedience, the King of Assyria and his forces descended upon the Israelites living in Samaria, took over and exiled the Israelites to pagan cities.  The pagan Assyrians moved into God’s city, which didn’t go well for them. They did not fear God and continued to worship their pagan gods.  God sent lions to roam the land and many of them were killed.  They decided they needed to learn how to fear God and they brought some of the exiled Israelite priests back to teach them to fear the Lord. Long story short, they learned and began to fear the Lord, but they still worshiped their false gods too.
This is still a problem for many believers today.  They worship God and love Him, but have their idols too, and don’t want to let them go. We often live split lives just like the Assyrians, worshiping one God – to keep the lions from eating us, but still servingthe other gods in our lives.  Really, the lions are circling and it’s only a matter of time!  We spend our token amounts of time at church, in worship and Bible study, but what really controls us?  What consumes our time?  What do we depend on more than God?  What has our heart? Our resources?  It is a weighty thought for sure.  We don’t really think of some of these things as a god in our lives but, truthfully, that is really what they really are.  
It is the subtle deception of Satan that opens the door for false gods in our lives like the whisper of false rescue (seeking the solution to a problem from something or someone other than God) or a momentary indulgence that we believe will make us happy. Every step takes you closer to the throne of idolatry, and further away from the throne of Christ.  Unlike the worship of the One True God that sets us free, these gods take us captive the minute we bow at their feet.  We spend the best of ourselves on these false gods and leave very little for our Heavenly Father.  There is a better way and it is only through the One True God. He can deliver us from divided living when we realize that we are powerless against them, but He is not. He is yearning to set you free. He is waiting for you to turn back to Him, and to give all of your life to Him so that you can have the fulfillment and joy that He has planned for you. 

Scripture to Claim:
So while these nations feared the Lord, they also served their 2 Kings 17:41a

Devotional Archive