“And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a-whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so.” – Judges 2:17
I admit, it’s not often that I feel the Old Testament can teach me something just as powerful as the New Testament, but this morning God proved otherwise!
Having recently started reading the Old Testament from the beginning to this point, I’m getting kind of tired of seeing the Children of Israel turn aside from following the Lord again and again. I mean, can’t these people ever get the idea that God is the ONLY REAL GOD!!! He proves Himself to them again and again! He shows them His power, His mercy, and His awesomeness! Yet they continually turn their backs on Him and rebel against Him.
Another thing that amazed me was that they turned to gods that they made. How can they expect to get fulfillment out of something they created with their own hands?
When I was reading this passage this morning, something in it caused me to stop. Then I realized, I do the same thing!
It is true that we don’t serve other gods like the Children of Israel did, but we being sinful in nature have found that we can create gods for ourselves in a different way. Even we as children of God have continually turned aside to other “gods”. After God showed me, I realized I did, and I doubt that there is anyone out there who can say that they have not, at some point in time, “bowed themselves” to their gods. Let me explain.
This list of questions is kind of like a definition. God showed me that if the answer to any of these is something other than God, His Word, His people, or His Work, look out! I probably have something that I am beginning to raise up as a god or idol.
1. What do I want the most?
2. What do I think about the most?
3. How do I use my money?
4. What do I do with my leisure time?
5. What company do I enjoy?
6. Who and what do I admire?
7. What do I laugh at?
The first time I seriously sat down and asked myself these questions, it was very sobering. Four of the things had the same answer! I really began to think and pray about it, and God showed me that yes. I was holding something in front of Him.
Now, I tried to excuse myself by saying that it wasn’t a god, but really, when God says: “Though shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3), that means have NOTHING before Him! Anything that I’m putting before Him is a god!
How can I do that when God is obviously the ONLY true God?! The only One Who can fill me with His fullness? He has shown Himself strong, merciful, loving, gracious, and so much more in my life, yet it is so easy for me to move my focus from Him to other things!
It was a very strong and sobering lesson, but praise God for the hard lessons! How else can He sanctify me and lead me into being the woman of God He wants me to be?