God is a jealous God…He desires our love
Exodus 34:14 states, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:” We often think about names for God such as Yahweh or Jehovah, but it is not often that we think about his name called Jealous. According to the Bible dictionary, jealousy is defined as the passion of peculiar uneasiness which arises from the fear that a rival may rob us of the affection of one whom we love, or the suspicion that he has already done it. The God of Heaven loves us so much that he gave his Son to die, and he desires our undivided attention, and will not share us with the things of this world. He must have all of our love and affection! Nothing should take the place of God in our lives as his children, but many times we devote our time, attention, love, and allegiance to other things. This becomes a form of idolatry.
When we think of idolatry, we think of gods of wood and stone, and immediately all Christians would admit that worshiping those false gods would be a sin and worthless. God commanded the Israelites in Leviticus 26:1, “Do not make idols or set up statutes, stone pillars, or carved stones to worship. I am the Lord your God.” In the book of Deuteronomy 4 verses 15 – 19, God sternly warned the Israelites not to sin against him by making images for themselves. Whether in the likeness of man or woman, animals or bird, reptiles or fish. Do not be tempted to worship and serve what you see in the sky, the sun, the moon, and the stars. Most of us would feel rather good that we have never carved out a god of wood or stone, but does that really mean that we are not idolatrous?
According to Martin Lloyd-Jones, “An idol is anything in our lives that occupies the place that should be occupied by God alone. Anything that is central in my life, anything that seems to me essential. An idol is anything by which I live and on which I depend, anything that holds such a controlling position in my life that it moves, rouses and attracts too much of my time, attention, energy and money.” When we look at this definition, we can immediately see that so many things in our life become idols and draw time and attention away from God. In 1 John 5:19-21 we are given a warning, “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” We are told to keep ourselves away from idols. What in your life has become an idol?
It is possible to make our problems and struggles into idols because they take over our minds and we constantly dwell upon how bad things are in our lives. The election became an idol for many and consumed them from the inside out eating away all their peace and joy. People in our lives often become idols. Bill Gothard said “Idolatry is trusting people, possessions, or positions to do for me what only God can do.” We have put our trust in elected officials, the government, and many other things besides the Lord, and this has become idolatrous. We are told in the Bible to not put confidence in man but rather in God. It is so easily done that we often overlook it. An idol can be a physical object, property, a person, money, an activity or hobby, a role, an institution, a job, an idea, or a pleasure. God is calling his Church back to him, and it is high time we start identifying the idols in our lives and remove them all!
According to the website 2cherish2commend.com, “Idolatry arouses God’s displeasure. God is displeased. Idolatry is the most heinous injury and affront to the true God; it is transferring his worship and honour to a rival. Idolatry brings physical ruin — brokenness, pain, suffering, death, and judgment. Idolatry brings spiritual destruction as we fall under God’s divine discipline.” We must be extremely careful not to be idolatrous. 1 Corinthians 10:11-14 says, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.”
There is a way of escape made for us all, and we have power over the things that are drawing us away from God. We must exercise that power and remove those things from our lives as soon as possible. Please examine your life and see what is absorbing the most of your time, attention, and love.
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)
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