The word of the Lord came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:
“This is what the Lord says:
“‘I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
through a land not sown.
Israel was holy to the Lord,
the firstfruits of his harvest;
all who devoured her were held guilty,
and disaster overtook them,’”
declares the Lord.
Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob,
all you clans of Israel.
This is what the Lord says:
“What fault did your ancestors find in me,
that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
and became worthless themselves.
They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord,
who brought us up out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness,
through a land of deserts and ravines,
a land of drought and utter darkness,
a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
I brought you into a fertile land
to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land
and made my inheritance detestable.
The priests did not ask,
‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
following worthless idols.
“Therefore I bring charges against you again,”
declares the Lord.
“And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
send to Kedar and observe closely;
see if there has ever been anything like this:
Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
for worthless idols.
Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
- Jeremiah 2:1-13
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
- Deuteronomy 5:6-10
Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.
You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it,
and it took root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
Its branches reached as far as the Sea,
its shoots as far as the River.
Why have you broken down its walls
so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
Boars from the forest ravage it,
and insects from the fields feed on it.
Return to us, God Almighty!
Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
the root your right hand has planted,
the son you have raised up for yourself.
- Psalm 80:7-15
Editor’s Note: Again, as you might be looking for the new Sunday mini-series, the decision has not been made. I have a feeling that next week, the post will reveal the decision, starting the new series.
About a month ago, the pastor preached a great sermon on “you can’t live without it.” It was all about these cisterns that were broken and would not hold water. He talked about all kinds of broken things making everyone in the congregation thirsty, since the cistern was broken and could not hold water. He then talked about why the Israelites had gone the wrong way. They had gone against God and worshipped false gods.
Okay, I wrote that last paragraph to show him, in case he reads this post, that I was not daydreaming the entire time he preached, but my mind started to get onto the idea of false gods.
What got me daydreaming? The pastor said that the Israelites celebrated the festivals that God ordained, but they did not exclusively worship God. They also celebrated other god’s festivals.
That got me daydreaming about my first trip to India. I was there for an entire month, but we went to the nice hotel in Mumbai a day early. The steel mill was shut down for Holi, the festival of colors. The guys in the steel mill had been celebrating for a week already, but on that day, the power was to be shut off. One of the operators from the mill explained the festival to me. A ruler was not devout, but he was a nice person. To receive the mark that you were devout, the paint mark on your forehead, you had to devote yourself to the religion and he had not done so. His subjects loved him, so they stayed in ambush and when he walked by, they pelted him with the dry paint. He would get the special mark one way or another. The operator told me that they ambushed their supervisors. They ambushed those that they respected. About that time, someone painting a pipe accidentally dripped paint on my hardhat, and they joked how I had been colored. They respected me as their teacher, but I was of a different religion and it might be offensive to paint me. Thus, Holi is about repentance, forgiveness, and devotion to their god. It is a beautiful thing that Christians share at least in similar concepts, but it is still worship. In the USA, they have Holi festivals, but they simply have a gauntlet of paint throwers throwing paint at total strangers that run through the gauntlet. They call it a “spiritual” experience, but the festival to them is just a few laughs and a T-shirt that they can hang on the wall. There is no forgiveness or repentance, just worship of a god they do not even know.
I have written about how superstitions can be false gods. They cause us to do silly things. We do not seem to do the things that the true God commands, but we throw salt over our shoulder, and we do not pick up a penny that is face down. Really!? The bad luck of finding a penny that is face down and not touching it is that the non-superstitious person has the penny in their pocket, and you are one penny short! Now not walking under a ladder is a good safety idea, but many people list it as a superstition. And as for me, crossing a black cat is only bad luck for me because I am allergic to cats!!
I know a lot of people who are Christians that follow their horoscope. When the stars, that God placed in the sky, tell you to do something or not do it, and you go for that idea, that is worshipping a false god. We are to worship God, not something God made or even worse, something that we made out of something God made.
And thinking of that, I have written about a pastor who had a Buddhist figurine next to his fireplace. He conned about half the choir members into lying on their belly in front of this idol, then reaching up with just their head to kiss the idols belly. He called it a laughing Buddha. He wanted his choir members to have good luck. I told him that I had visited a Buddhist temple in Thailand and learned enough to know that his laughing Buddha was not Buddha at all, but an Arahat to remind the people that they should be content with what they had. He was getting these choir members to literally bow down before a false god to plead for more stuff (good luck) when the false god’s purpose was to convey a truth that is common between Buddhism and Christianity – that we already have enough. For the Buddhist, it is because we have enough. For the Christian, it is because God provides, and He is faithful. But contentment is common among the two religions for different reasons. When the idiocy started, my wife and I left.
Does life in general end when your favorite sports team is on television? Ouch! I have been there.
Yes, we all have that one weakness. And we may jettison one weakness after another, just to find more. But if the gates of Heaven open and Jesus calls your name, will you try to hold onto anything on earth or will you drop everything and start running for the gate?
My wife has figurines and other knickknacks. She does not worship them. We would prefer to not have them. They are a pain to move from place to place. Since collectibles are out of style, we could not sell them for the face value. They are a pain.
Of course, the biggest false god that we worship is ourselves. We think we are so precious. I had someone tell me that he would never forgive me for all the wrongs I had done to him, and as for any wrongs he did to me, he meant to do them and he was never wrong. Yes, we not only consider ourselves god, but we worship ourselves…
Unless, we meet the true God, then everything changes. As the pastor says, the one thing that we cannot live without is Almighty God. It is He who breathed life into us, and it is He who will judge us. We must surrender our lives to Him, trusting in Jesus, to have our names in the Book of Life. We can only trust in Him. Nothing we do can overcome the debt that we owe.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
Timely; just taught my kids an hour ago on Exodus 32 with the children of Israel making a golden calf
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God works that way a lot. It happens to me that way too.
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Providence of God at work!
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