Focal Passages: 2 Kings 17:7-15, 18-20
Idolatry happens every day. It had no place in ancient Judaism, but they repeatedly turned to it. The Northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians because Israel began to revere other gods, forgetting the God who brought their people out of Egypt. They became enamored with the supposed results of worshipping the nations’ gods and began to follow their pagan customs. You’re probably thinking, “I’d never do that!” Is anything (material possessions, career, relationships, etc.) distracting you from the daily worship of God and stealing the passion you should have for Him? Has your church chosen something else (entertainment, numbers, popularity, etc.) over the true worship of God? Behold your idols!
Because of His grace, God is the God of second chances. He repeatedly calls us to repentance so that we might walk with Him. Just as God often warned Old Testament Israel of the judgment He would send on their disobedience, He warns New Testament Christians by the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. When God reveals our sin we will either agree with Him and repent, or, as in this passage, stiffen our necks and go our own way. “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15).
If we refuse to heed God’s gracious warnings, we can expect to see judgment rolling in like a storm on the horizon. The Northern Kingdom, and later the Southern Kingdom, lost their homes, their land and much of their cultural and spiritual identity because they refused to stop committing spiritual adultery. My mother tried to lift me out of our van when I was two, but I refused and did things my way. I jumped out the door, and my head broke my fall.
I still have the scar to prove that I can be determined and still wrong. Heed God’s warning and avoid the scars that sin leaves behind. Remember, idolatry begins when reverence for God is hijacked by something or someone else. “You shall fear only the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 6:13a).