True or Idol Worship (Judges 18)

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Today we read about the tribe of Dan, traveling to claim their land allotted to them by God in the land of Israel. The send out five scouts, who come to Micah’s house. The consult the Levite serving as Micah’s priest about their mission, to see if it will be successful. After the priest gives his blessing, the scouts head out to survey the land. When they return home, they tell their fellow Danites about the peaceful people inhabiting their land. They then took 600 men ready for war, and traveled to their allotment, but first stopped at Micah’s house. They took all of Micah’s idols, and convinced the Levite to come with them and serve as priest for the tribe of Dan. Once they had taken over the land, they installed Jonathan (the Levite) as their priest, and placed Micah’s idols as their idols in their temple.

Idol worship brings many problems, the biggest is that it takes our praise away from the only god that deserves it. But idol worship has a common theme, no matter what you are idolizing. When the Danites took his idols, Micah came out saying, “You’ve taken away all the gods I have made, and my priest, and I have nothing left.” (18:24, NLT). Did you catch what he said? “…the gods I have made…” That’s what sets idol worship apart from true worship. In true worship, we give glory and praise to something we have created; whether it be money, power, false gods, etc. But true worship give glory and praise to the one that was not created, but rather is the Creator. These men in Dan, and even Micah, did not understand how idol worship was wrong or even offensive.

During the season of Lent, we have a practice where we give up something as a fast to become closer to God. I know I’m a little late in suggesting something like this, but take some time in prayer to figure out what is higher in your heart than God. It can get rough. Sometimes it can be something that you wouldn’t think would be a problem. For instance, there are times that my family or my ministry gets a higher place than God. This should not be the case. Jesus said to a crowd of people, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison — your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:25, NLT). Jesus wants us to place him above everyone else in our lives, so that nothing can hold us back from Him.

So figure out what is distracting you from glorifying God above everything else. Try to give it up for Lent, or learn to give it an inferior place in your heart.

Also in this series

Psalms to Pray: Psalm 79-83

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Having a Thankful Heart

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Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 7.

In this chapter of 2 Samuel, David realizes that he lives in an elaborate palace and the Ark of the Covenant is in a tent. His wish is to build God a much more prestigious dwelling place that he has. David consults the prophet Nathan, who took over after Samuel’s death, about his plan. Nathan tells him to go ahead and plan. God then delivers a message to Nathan, who in turn gives it to David. Nathan’s vision reveals that David will not be the one to build the temple, even though he will plan it. God also promises to make a “dynasty of kings” (7:11 NLT) from David. Then also promises to rise up one of David’s descendants to be His son (Jesus Christ anybody?!?!?!?!?!). David’s reaction is to offer up a prayer of thanksgiving, thanking God for His promise.

How often do you give God thanks? Only at church during the “thanksgiving” section? Never? At every meal? Sometimes we aren’t even giving God thanks when we are giving Him thanks. Some of our thanksgiving practices have become rote, and people don’t realize what they are saying. For instance take the Doxology:

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above, you heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Amen”

This chorus is filled with thanking God for everything for all His blessings. Thanking God is important, because if we do not give God the glory, than we sin. Remember the second time Moses struck a rock to bring out water for the Israelites (Numbers 20:1-13)? Since Moses did not glorify God, he was unable to enter the promised land.

But what about the times when God doesn’t bless us. I think of a scene from the movie Facing the Giants. When the coach decides that his football team is going to play football for God he gives them a simple mantra “When we win, we praise Him; When we lose, we praise Him!” I think that this has an equal meaning in all our lives, because honestly, we are all dust until God gives us the breath of life. So it is because of God we even have a life that times of trouble can happen in. So we give thanks for life and remember Psalm 23 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;…” (Psalm 23:4a NASB).

So I encourage you to remember to give God thanks everyday. Its especially hard during the times of trouble, but it is still important. It is also important to remember who gave you blessings. So thank God for the good times. David had a thankful heart, and remembered to give thanks when necessary, so this is something that we must learn on our way to becoming a Heart Man.