Wednesday, August 02, 2017

No Other Gods

From the time of Joshua, the great Leader of Israel, who brought them into the Promise Land, all the way to Israel's first king, King Saul, Israel went through Seven Cycles of Rebellion, Oppression by their Enemies, Repentance, and Deliverance.

Theologians refer to this as the Seven Apostasies.

This happened over the course of about 350 years.

It says a lot about God's Mercy for His people, as well as the rebellious nature of man.

In Judges 10, we see Israel had lived in peace for about 45 years...then they began to backslide...again...

Judges 10:6 NKJV 
Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook the Lord and did not serve Him.

We very quickly understand the statement that Israel "...did evil in the sight of the Lord..." by worshipping other gods, but we like to compartmentalize this to an ancient Bible story that has no real relevance to our lives today in modern times...because, let's face it, we don't worship other gods...

Right?

We are not foolish enough to, "do evil in the sight of the Lord..." 

God forbid.

Some of you are already ahead of me, thinking, "uh oh, I know where he is going with this."

Let's ask a few locating questions:

1) What is a god?
2) What is worship?

A god is defined as the following:
  • An Image
  • An Idol
  • An Animal
  • An Object 
  • An Individual
All of the above, worshipped and adored, and depended upon for our needs to be met, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. They may also be that which carries supreme importance in our lives.

Worship is defined as:
  • deep feeling of reverence or adoration
  • strong devotion
  • fervent expression of your affections and passions for something
Looking at these definitions, can you imagine the gods that are worshipped today in our culture?

Here's the short list of the major gods in America:
  • Money & Materialism (twin gods)
  • Success
  • Sports
  • Sex (especially pornography, America leads the way with this worship, largest producer on the planet)
  • Alcohol, Drugs
Honestly, it is not really possible to make an accurate list of all the gods worshipped in our culture...for truly ANYTHING that takes the place of Jesus in our lives, is our god. 

Here is an important question to ask ourselves: What do we run to when we are sad or when we are hurting inside? 

Do you find yourself worshipping the King of Kings? Or are you chasing something that will bring you a few minutes of "happiness" to cope and make it through your trial?

Do you TRULY depend on the Lord to meet your every need? Or do you depend on, who you know, your job, your education (intellect), bank account, hobbies, vacations, addictions, entertainment, recreation...etc. to meet your physical, emotional and spiritual needs?

We have all heard the 10 Commandments.

Do you remember the First Commandment? I believe the first one would be a very important one:

Exodus 20:3 NKJV
You shall have no other gods before Me.

The real challenge here is we can learn to live as Christians, doing away with the major sins, looking spiritual and godly to other people...however, God sees past all the externals. He sees directly into the Heart. Every motivation. Every affection. 

Even "good" things can become gods in our lives. Things that no one will ever judge us for nor recognize as evil.

Yet, anything that comes before God, including husband, wife, children, job, MINISTRY, hobbies, toys... 
I know, this is a tough Word that we all must evaluate. 

It is not to say our families, and things that bring us pleasure are sinful, but we MUST keep the Lord FIRST in our lives!

When we consider all that He has done to save us and rescue us from sin and condemnation, He deserves our WORSHIP!

So, back to our story...

Israel found themselves in another bad place due to their worship of other gods...their enemies raided, harassed, oppressed and attacked them for 18 years!

The Bible says Israel was severelydistressed.

So what did they do?

Judges 10:10 NKJV
And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, "We have sinned against You, because we have both forsaken our God and served the Baals!"

And they lived happily ever after...NOT!

God's response was terrifying!

Judges 10:14 NKJV
"Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress."

I remember a chilling statement my pastor made when I was in my early 20s. Juli and I were raising our young children. He was talking about families who had left the church for their kids to play football on Sundays...he asked, "will they call out to their trophies to deliver them in times of distress??"

Wow.

Israel continued in their repentance begging the Lord for Mercy. They also took action.

Judges 10:15-16 NKJV
And the children of Israel said to the Lord, "We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You; only deliver us this day, we pray." 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord. And His [God's] soul could no longer endure the misery of Israel.

Repentance is always the action that brings God's mercy and deliverance.

Again, I say, He Deserves our Worship!

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