I’m reading through 1 Kings, and it’s amazing how many kings angered God by worshipping other Gods. Idol worship was the chronic sin and temptation (you’d think the next guy would learn from the mistakes of the previous guy, but he didn’t).
At first, I thought this didn’t really apply today — it’s not like Christians run around stumbling left and right into worshipping Allah, Buddah, or Vishnu. I mean, how bizarre would that be? And why would this be such an issue for God’s people in Old Testament times?
But then it occurred to me – a god is anything that takes God’s rightful place in our life. Anything we seek comfort or protection from. Anything in which we put our identity. Anything we think can save, validate, or empower us.
The gods that pervade the culture of the Old Testament were gods like Baal, Molech, and Asherah. These gods were known and worshipped for being a “protecting father,” “god of sun,” “god of rain,” “god of fertility,” “queen of heaven” (Asherah), and “she who walks on Lake Galilee” (sound like Jesus???). And the Israelites worshipped them because they were worshipped by the people of the cultures around them (people of this world) and the Israelites were not diligent in keeping themselves set apart from these people (to be in the world, but not of it).
Well, when I looked at it from this perspective, it became clear that believers today struggle with worshipping other gods just as the Israelites did. We have adopted some of the gods of our culture and pursue them rather than the one, true God. Some of our gods include (in no particular order):
- Mammon (money and material things)
- Sex, Lust
- Political Orientation/Political Leaders
- Psychics/Mediums/Fortune Tellers/Magicians
I believe God gets just as enraged when we devote ourselves to these things in place of Him just as he did when the Israelites worshipped (or enabled other people to worship) other gods.
So this is something I need to be extra vigilant about – making sure I don’t put anything or anyone in God’s place in my life. Because I have before. And I don’t want to be like the kings who didn’t learn from the mistakes of the previous guy.