Grand Sweep Daily Reading: I Kings 15, 16; Psalm 67
I Kings 16:12-13 (NIV)
12 So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu – because of all the sins Baasha and hi son Elah had committed and caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger by their worthless idols.
I Kings 16:26 (NIV)
26 [Omri] walked in all the ways of Jeroboam son of Nebat and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit, so that they provoked the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger by their worthless idols.
Isaiah 44:9-10 (NIV)
9 All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. 10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing?
Throughout scripture, we read about the hand-crafted idols of evil leaders who turned their eyes away from the Lord and focused on their own selfish whit and whim. Tangible, physical, touchable objects were worshiped and glorified. What idols could provoke the wrath of God? Lost souls who had forgotten the main thing, turned to solid gold calves, Asherah poles, and material wealth to satisfy their thirst for power, pleasure, praise and popularity. What idols are you carrying in your back pocket today? Is there something in your life that has become much more important to you than God?
Earthly treasures can take on various shapes in our mind’s eye. We place value on our ability to make things happen. Maybe you find self-satisfaction in your climb up the corporate ladder. Your blood, sweat and tears are invested in the work you do each day. There is nothing more important than moving up, expanding your name and title within the company you have helped build. The Lord gives each of us an intellect and desire to contribute to the world around us. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do your best. The question we need to constantly ask is whether we are working to please ourselves, or whether we are working to bring praise and honor and glory to the Lord. Are you serving yourself today, or are you serving God?
Isn’t it wonderful to feel appreciated? I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t enjoy a little praise now and then. Praise can be like a double-edged sword – sometimes we impale ourselves on the sharp edge of selfish ambition and personal gain. We find ourselves falling into the trap of works righteousness. It is hard to climb out of that pit, without help from above. We crave recognition for the things we do and the more we receive it, the more of it we want. How important is it to you for people to recognize your name? Popularity contests can only take us so far in this world. We watch with horror as our Hollywood elite lose their lives every day over their need to be recognized. How many women have lost their life to anorexia and/or bulimia because they could not accept physical imperfections? How many young men die trying to meet the impossible expectations of their parents? How far are you willing to climb? Who would you gladly step on to get to the next level?
Idols come in many forms. There are a lot of people out there doing some really good things. You may be one of them. Ask yourself this question today: who am I serving? Are my motives pure? Is it possible to find true happiness and peace in the things of this world?
The Lord God Almighty wants our undivided attention. He is worthy of all praise, honor and glory. Everything we have comes from His hand. He gives every good gift. The life you live will one day be a reflection of your most precious treasure. Are you the most important thing in your life, or is the Lord, the giver of all life, your reason for living?
May we identify the worthless idols in our life and purge them today, through the cleansing blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Grace and peace,
Pray for: the ability identify and rid yourself of the things that have become idols in your life. Ask the Lord to help you place Him first in all you say and do. Let Jesus Christ become the centerpiece of your heart’s desire. When we want nothing more than to magnify the Lord, the idols that we once held dear will simply fall away. Empty your back pocket this morning. Give Jesus your whole heart.
© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding
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