Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed; with us is the Lord our God, to help us, and to fight our battles.”
II Chronicles 32: 7, 8
“I have no cares, O blessed will!
For all my cares are Thine;
I live in triumph, Lord, for Thou
Hast made Thy triumphs mine.”
Frederick W. Faber
Today’s Study Text:
“And he (Baasha) did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin…Thus Zimri destroyed all the house of Baasha…for all the sins of Baasha.”
1 Kings 15: 34
1 Kings 16: 12
“Who Is In The Center Of Your Room?”
“We easily fall into idolatry, for we are inclined thereunto by nature, and coming to us by inheritance it seems pleasant.”
Is there anything in my life which has become an idol and has replaced the worship of God?
What is it, or who is it, that I choose to worship?
“There are many ways we can practice idolatry without bowing before carved pieces of wood or stone.”
The Joy of Faithful Obedience
“Satan is willing to have us worship anything, however sacred -- the Bible, the crucifix, the church -- if only we do not worship God Himself.”
D. L. Moody
Sermon – Weighed and Wanting
From the time that Jeroboam began his rule in the northern portion of Israel, and Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, took the throne over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, we find a serious demise in the spirituality of many of the subjects they ruled. Time and again, from 1 Kings 14 onward, the phrase appears, “They did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Tragically, a great deal of the evil behavior was in direct disobedience to God’s command to His children found in Exodus 20: 3-5, “Do not worship any god except Me. Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth. Don’t bow down and worship idols. I am the Lord your God, and I am a most jealous God” (Exodus 20: 3-5, C.E.V. and The Message Bible).
Forgetting that God did not want a rival for their affections; knowing their relationship with God required fidelity, and with mountains of evidence which revealed how much their heavenly Father loved them with an everlasting love, you would think God’s children would respond with an outpouring of undivided devotion. However, history tells a different story. Within days of asking for His children to worship Him, and Him alone, God’s rebellious children were dancing around a golden calf at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
Tragically, the idol worship didn’t stop at Sinai. Once in the land of Canaan, where the children of Israel were introduced to a variety of foreign gods, the worship of the false only escalated. When Jeroboam introduced the worship of
two golden calves in Dan and Bethel, it was a continuation of years of replacing the God in heaven with gods of this earth. As Bill Gothard defines idolatry, “It is trusting people, possessions, and positions to do for me what only God can do.” This is exactly what happened to the children of Israel. Led by earthly kings, they went from relying on God to bowing before inanimate figures made of stone and wood they could feel and touch.
When Jeroboam initiated the worship of idols -- two golden calves -- in Dan and Bethel, this form of worship didn’t seem so terribly out-of-line when compared to what had gone on in the past. It was a little-by-little form of idolatry. God was still included - sometimes! No one said, I completely reject God. Instead, certain forms of foreign worship were incorporated, bit-by-bit. Until one day, the worship of God was pushed so far to the sidelines, you didn’t even notice it at all. David Lloyd-Jones gives this illuminating view of how we can easily push God aside when he observes, “A man’s (woman’s) god is that for which he (she) lives, for which he (she) is prepared to give his (her) time, his (her) energy, his (her) money, that which stimulates him (her) and rouses him (her) excites and enthuses him (her).”
Instead of elevating the thoughts of the citizens of Israel and encouraging the devoted worship of the God of heaven and earth, ruler after ruler sank lower into the quicksand of idol worship. The problems which follow such a casual view of Godly worship undermine our spiritual growth.
I have personally benefited in my own spiritual life from the ministry of Pastor Jack Hayford, who has not only shared great thoughts about God in the books he has written, but also in his music. His well-known song, “Majesty,” is a call for us to worship God, for He deserves our full-hearted allegiance. This concept is explained in more depth in Pastor Hayford’s book, Manifest Presence. Pastor Hayford shares this view of the “true worship” of our Creator. “The ancient English word for ‘worship’ is weorthscipe, which incorporated the idea of ‘ascribe worth’. It meant fundamentally that a true worship of God is more than an exercise of religious ritual; it is a human expression of a proper value being placed in the person being worshipped and the personal cost of the practice of worshipping Him.”
Kenneth Prior reiterated this thought by stating, “When we invent our own ideas of God, we simply create Him in our own image.”
At Mt. Sinai, our heavenly Father asked all His children, down through history, to stay away from a self-centered idolatry -- an idol worship that puts human desires at the core.
I love the way author Charles Swindoll encourages us to form an unbreakable bond with God who reveals the glory of the heavenly and which will keep us from becoming attached to the things of this earth. “It’s easy to get attached to idols, good things inappropriately adored. But when you have Jesus in the center of a room, everything else only junks up the décor.”
Our question today is: “Who is in the center of our room?”
“Worship is a personal encounter with God in which one expresses love for God, concentrates on His attributes, and brings the focus back to Him.”
O Worship the King
“O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His wonderful love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies, how tender! How firm to the end!
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend!”
“O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches…The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in His works…I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of Him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.”
Psalm 104: 24, 31, 33, 34
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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