Tag Archives: idolatry

2 Kings 13-14; 2 Chronicles 25; Psalm 53; Matthew 12

Amaziah did not get it right every time, but we first read about a time when he listened to the voice of God and stood strong in the face of opposition.

He had an enemy to face, a foreboding, powerful one. He pulled together as many men as he could from Judah and Benjamin and scraped together 300,000 men who were of age and fit to fight. Weighing the might of his adversary, he needed more. He hired 100,000 mighty men from Israel to fill in the calculated gap.

That’s when a man of God showed up with a message for him.

But a man of God came to him and said, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel, with all these Ephraimites. But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.”

2 Chronicles 25:7-8 ESV

Amaziah questioned his advice at first, but when the prophet encouraged him with reminders of God’s faithfulness and abundant blessing, he proceeded to battle with an army that was too small by human standards.

He won. Of course. Because God is always enough. To obey is better than sacrifice.

Unfortunately, in his winning came his downfall. It seems completely illogical as we flip back through the pages of history, but he preserved the idols of the nation he defeated and brought them home and worshiped them. They had no power, no life, no blessing to bestow. Yet somewhere in his mind it made sense to honor these empty, powerless gods. And, his life pretty much falls apart from there.

I glean two take-aways. One from his surrendered heart and one from his boastful one.

Stand firm even when support seems insufficient. If we stand with God, we only need that one ally. We might not have the benefit of an audibly spoken word from God or one of his prophets, but many times in our lives (not always) it is quite clear what standing up for truth looks like. At times like that we cannot let lack of finances, partners, crowd-funding, popularity, or human logic hold us back.

Secondly, don’t give pride an inch of room. It seeps in and steals our victory, robs our blessing, destroys communion with God. It blinds us to God’s goodness and crumbles our allegiance to the Lord of Hosts, the God of angel armies, who rightly claims any victory. In times of abundance I need to raise my guard even higher.

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” Psalm 53:1 ESV. The world might credit wisdom or honor to those that do it “their way” or blaze a trail by their human strength or ingenuity, but those that plow ahead without surrender to God, are fools by scripture’s standards. Seems harsh, until you watch that philosophy lived out and the pride that drives it. I might not say or believe that “there is no god,” but do my life choices always validate my belief in Him? My heart is in danger of acting foolishly at times and needs frequent regrounding in scripture.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

Matthew 12:34-35 ESV

Lord, keep a firm hold on my heart, mouth, and mind. May I continually be being filled by You and your word so that in times of challenge I can stand, even if I am alone in standing. In times of success and peace may I continue to give you all credit and glory. And in the ordinary, may I be faithfully growing and preparing for the path ahead. In Jesus name, amen.

Erin (6intow)

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2 Kings 9-10; 2 Chronicles 21; 1 Thessalonians 1

A young prophet was given instructions for an important task–to deliver a message and run (for his life!).

So Jehu left the others and went into the house. Then the young prophet poured the oil over Jehu’s head and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I anoint you king over the Lord’s people, Israel. You are to destroy the family of Ahab, your master. In this way, I will avenge the murder of my prophets and all the Lord’s servants who were killed by Jezebel. The entire family of Ahab must be wiped out. I will destroy every one of his male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel. I will destroy the family of Ahab as I destroyed the families of Jeroboam son of Nebat and of Baasha son of Ahijah. 10 Dogs will eat Ahab’s wife Jezebel at the plot of land in Jezreel, and no one will bury her.” Then the young prophet opened the door and ran (2 Kings 9:6-10, NLT).

Jehu was tasked with an important role the Lord had appointed, and to fulfill the words the Lord commanded, an instrument in the Lord’s vengeance. The suspense builds as troops approach.

Then King Joram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah rode out in their chariots to meet Jehu. They met him at the plot of land that had belonged to Naboth of Jezreel. 22 King Joram demanded, “Do you come in peace, Jehu?”

Jehu replied, “How can there be peace as long as the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother, Jezebel, are all around us? (2 Kings 9:21-22, NLT, emphasis mine)”

Jehu was obedient to the Lord’s command as I read of the ensuing bloodbath and destruction. However:

28 In this way, Jehu destroyed every trace of Baal worship from Israel. 29 He did not, however, destroy the gold calves at Bethel and Dan, with which Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to sin.

30 Nonetheless the Lord said to Jehu, “You have done well in following my instructions to destroy the family of Ahab. Therefore, your descendants will be kings of Israel down to the fourth generation.” 31 But Jehu did not obey the Law of the Lord, the God of Israel, with all his heart. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit (2 Kings 10:28-31, NLT).

Destroying the gold calves would have been the easiest of all the things he had to do. Why did he destroy every trace of Baal worship but not these? How did he justify salvaging the golden calves? Was it easier to see idolatry in someone else than it was to recognize it in himself? It seems possible that one can love and serve the Lord, but not with all his heart. Oh, how can there be peace as long as idolatry is around?

Jehu had a story of purpose and might, a story punctuated with a pivotal however. In 2 Chronicles 21, Jehoram is designated successor king because he’s the oldest, kills off his brothers and marries one of Ahab’s daughters. He’s also known for doing evil in the Lord’s sight. When Jehoram dies a miserable death, no one mourns him and he is not buried in the royal cemetery. Jehoram’s story speaks of his heart, focus and desire.

In 1 Thessalonians 1, Paul writes of a people’s reputation:

And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:8-9, NLT).

Not only did they turn away from idols to serve the living and true God, but they kept their focus on His kingdom and eagerly awaited his return.

Lord, show me places of my heart that I haven’t given you. Remind me when my focus strays.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 29-31; 1 Corinthians 8

The Corinthian Church had just one questionable practice: whether to eat meat which was offered to idols. The Apostle Paul took three chapters (8-10) to deal with this subject which seems absolutely irrelevant to us today. Has anyone struggled with eating meat offered to an idol lately? Of course not, but you probably struggled with other American questionable practices, and those practices can only be solved by applying the principles of I Corinthians 8:1-13.

So what are the principles Paul lays out — if used — will bring a resolution to these thorny issues? It all settle around the law of love; Love Is More Important Than The Use Of Christian Liberty 8:7-12.

Paul’s exhortation to the weaker brother: Doing things without a clear conscience is sin, but we do need to leave room for the stronger brother who doesn’t see a practice as sin, vv. 7&8.

Paul’s exhortation to the stronger brother: Don’t do things that will cause a weaker brother in the faith to stumble and even be destroyed in their faith, vv. 9-12.

Causing a weaker brother to sin will be sin in itself and offend God, v. 13.

We don’t come across these issues often, but when we do, let’s all apply the law of love and defer to the weaker, those who are still growing in their faith. Who can you encourage today in their faith?

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1 Samuel 29, 30; 1 Corinthians 10; Ezekiel 8; Psalms 46, 47

Mentions of idols. Lifestyles the Lord disapproves. Paul writes,

I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago.

All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. In the cloud and in the sea, all of them were baptized as followers of Moses. All of them ate the same spiritual food, and all of them drank the same spiritual water. For they drank from the spiritual rock that traveled with them, and that rock was Christ. Yet God was not pleased with most of them, and their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

These things happened as a warning to us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did, or worship idols as some of them did.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-7 NLT.

All of these people traveled together, worshiped together, ate together, but some of them continued to do things that displeased the Lord.

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15 You are reasonable people. Decide for yourselves if what I am saying is true. 1 Corinthians 10:13-15 NLT.

If the Bible can tell me what not to do, I trust it will give me something to do in place.

I found it in a small sentence in 1 Samuel. I included a preceding sentence to define the circumstance. This was no willpower battle over the Hershey bar in the freezer. David was in great danger. His life was at stake. And the stones that they’d use to kill him were hard and real.

David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him. But David found strength in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6 NLT.

David inquires of the Lord what he should do.

Lord, I sing to you and worship you. I pursue you and follow you. But sometimes I don’t think consult you over the temptations in my life or the difficulties of a circumstance. Sometimes I think: I’ve got this! Thanks for the reminder that I’m not meant to carry the full weight of the burden. My strength is in you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

1 Peter 1, Ezekiel 22, Ezekiel 23

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Now, son of man, … show her all her abominations! … I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; … then you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out My fury on you.’” Ezekiel 22

“Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, Therefore you shall bear the penalty Of your lewdness and your harlotry.’”…you shall pay for your idolatrous sins. Then you shall know that I am the Lord God.’”  Ezekiel 23  

“To the Pilgrims” with “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation …”  1 Peter 1

Read at – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel%2022,%20Ezekiel%2023,%201%20Peter%201&version=NKJV

Ezekiel 22     “You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and have defiled yourself with the idols which you have made. You have caused your days to draw near”

                Lord Almighty Omniscient, You always hate sinful words, actions, thoughts and attitudes which people do. You always tell me to turn to You and be saved from Your fierce wrath. #1

             What angers You, Lord God, are people willfully shedding the blood of the innocent in their womb or for revenge or money. Or when I make an idol out of anything and depend upon “it” to make me happy, content or to bring myself pleasure, comfort or security. It is then that I do NOT depend upon my alive and real Relating-ship with You my Father. It is as if I turn my back on You saying “Lord, You are not good enough for me, I don’t trust You so I am rejecting You for the greater importance of _whatever__.” God, You are a jealous for me! Rightfully so. You bought me with the price of Your only begotten Son’s Life Blood. You love me immeasurably. I am to treat You as my Master! Joyously! Thank You!  #2

            The willfulness of my own soul causes me to either run to You or flee. May I always be conscious of Your Goodness and Truth which is the only Hope and Remedy for my personal fulfillment and boundless Joy. #3

            Lord, I lift up my nation to You! Awaken Your people and transform the hell bound to know You, hate their atrocities against You and live for Your glory alone, Omniscient Father. #4

            Just as in Ezekiel 22, many leaders use their power to make light of the father and mother bonds and responsibilities which You ordained and instituted. Many have devoured people, taken treasure and precious things, made many widows by war and murder. Many religious leaders have violated Your Law, profaned Your holy things and have not distinguished between the holy and unholy. Many citizens slander thus causing death to reputations, relationships or to a life itself. Many commit robbery, lewdness, have sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, adultery, incest, mistreat the poor and needy and make excess dishonest profits by extortion and usury. Many people who have forgotten the Lord God, their Creator.  #5

            You state what You can do to us Lord, “I beat My fists, … I shall deal with you… I, the Lord, have spoken, and will do it. … remove your filthiness completely from you….then you shall know that I am the Lord.”

               Your Word should fill me with Holy Fear of You Lord – to know Your Power and Holiness so to live to please You! Holy One, Thank You that You did not destroy me or others immediately. I call on Your character to be slow to anger and long suffering because You do not want anyone to perish. Please engage Your Body to be very active for Your Victory of salvation of souls! Please have me know You better and more intimately each day, and for my nation, too! #6

            Jesus, awaken me to be involved with Your kindness when I see a stranger, a widow, or someone who is fatherless. Remind me of Your Mercy and Grace that helped me when I was Your enemy and even now when I am Your child. Have me fear You more greatly to keep Your Sabbath set apart just for You, to Worship and abide in You deeply instead of trading Your attention for anything else. #7

1 Peter 1  –    To the pilgrims … in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:  you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love.

            Lord God, You speak of various trials. Oh how painful they are sometimes!! The twists and turns I am carried through, and yet I must be straight in You and faithful to You, my Savior. Help me to heed Your Word by Your Holy Spirit so that I will not fall into the sins listed in the following passages, even in my mind.

             Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

            I am grateful that I am “redeemed with …the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. …who through Him believe in God … that your faith and hope are in God.”

            Lord Jesus Christ, enable, empower and contend with me to “purify my soul in obeying the truth through the Spirit …having been born again …through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” Amen!

Bible insights –

#1  Psalm 97:10; Psalm 7:11; Ezekiel 14:6; Joel 2:12; Acts 26:20; James 1:21; Proverbs 6:16-19; Psalm 9-11; Ezekiel 18; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Luke 12:5; Isaiah 59:1; Hosea 4:6; Matthew 11:28-30; Deuteronomy 28; Job 33:13; Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:12; Hebrews 4:13; 1 Peter 4:5; Hebrews 9:27

#2   Exodus 34:14; Ezekiel 39:25; Zephaniah 3:17; Deuteronomy 4:24; Exodus 20; Nahum 1:2; Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Acts 20:28; Jeremiah 31:3; Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 1; John 13:13; Matthew 28:18-20; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 7:10; Colossians 3:23-25; Philippians 4:4-8; Nehemiah 8:10; Revelation 7:12

#3 Nehemiah 8:10 

#4  2 Chronicles 7:14; Romans 5:8; Romans 6; Luke 12:5; Romans 1:18-2:16; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10; Psalm 51; Hosea 4:6; Job 28:28; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 25:14; Psalm 33:18; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 16:6; Proverbs 29:25

#5 Genesis 1:1-3; Genesis 1:26-2; Leviticus 18, Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Deuteronomy 11; Psalm 127:3-5; Proverbs 5:18; 1 Peter 3; Ephesians 5; 1 Corinthians 7; Exodus 20; Romans 1:18-2:16; John 10; Luke 11:13; James 1:17, Leviticus 18:22

#6   Job 28:28; Psalm 19:9; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 1:29; Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 16:6; Luke 12:5; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 103:8; Nahum 1:3; Isaiah 59:1; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 6:10-20; Romans 8

#7    Romans 5:8; John 1:1-3; John 1:10-14; John 1:29; 1 John 3:1; Exodus 20:8-9; John 4:23-26; Exodus 20:12

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Filed under 1 Peter, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Ezekiel, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized