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“They feared the LORD, and served their own gods…”

06 Jan

In II Kings 17 we have the record of the ten northern tribes of Israel being carried away captive by Shalmaneser king of Assyria.  It was the Assyrian way to remove a majority of the conquered people and to place Assyrian colonists in the lands they conquered.  When the colonists in this case moved into the land, bad things began to happen to them as the Lord sent lions among them to devour them because they didn’t fear Him.  So the king of Assyria sent one of the priests of Israel back to the land to teach them how they should fear God.  This was basically the blind leading the blind however since when the Israelites had lived there they didn’t live right either.  Before being led away into captivity, the northern tribes had become very idolatrous.  Now this priest has gone back to teach the heathen how to fear God…  Well this passage goes on to indicate that they learned how to ‘fear’ God but they continued to serve their own gods.  The men from Babylon worshiped Succothbenoth, the men of Cuth worshiped Nergal, the men of Hamath served Ashima, the Avites served Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.  This last thing was particularly troubling.  Their worship involved human sacrifice of their own children in order to have a hope of higher status among society ie. “the pride of life”.

“Well what has this got to do with us today?” you might say… My friend here in America we who call ourselves Christians are like these Assyrians. We fear the Lord just enough that we will make the effort to show up at His house on Sunday morning. And like the Assyrians we do this to hedge our bets, keep the lions of debt, joblessness, or sickness off our backs… but we have literally heaped unto us other gods so that it can now be said of modern Christians in these United States that “THEY FEAR THE LORD, AND WORSHIP THE GODS OF THE LAND!” Too hard you might say. Why you only have to look at Sunday night and Wednesday night attendance at many churches or the lack of those services even being held anymore to see that “Christians” have decided Christ was right, you really can’t serve God and mammon. No, the god of ‘American Idol’, the god of ‘Visiting Relatives’, the god of ‘My Job Makes Me Work’, the god of ‘Walmart’, and just in case I missed one, ‘THE UNKNOWN GOD’ have all taken precedence at the top of our polytheistic heap of gods until we find our selves too busy for the one true God. I heard an evangelist say today that Christians in this country need a revival that causes us to forsake our idols… Well said!!

The Christian soldier has gone AWOL (All Worldly in Our Lives) on Christ. Paul once told Timothy that the good soldier of Jesus Christ does not entangle “himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” We have gone way past this though in most of our cases. Where Paul once told the Ephesian that Christians wrestle not with flesh and blood…the new motto of the church in America could very well read, “WE WRESTLE NOT…” We dare not lift a finger to fight the good fight anymore cause we’re too busy lifting our hand to change the channel. But think of the stakes. All the while millions of souls drop off into a Christless eternity. We Christians should love the Lord enough to want to serve Him with our best efforts. Besides, if He is Lord, then there is no room for other ‘gods’ in our lives.

Also, what will happen to this country and our churches should the Lord tarry in coming? If our children follow our current example, what will the churches of this land look like in twenty years? If it is like the time of II Kings 17, you need only look to the last verse of that chapter to see the impact on their children…

2Kings 17:41 “So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.”

I challenge all of you who know the Lord, let us put away our idols, tear down the high places and groves, and once again serve Jesus as Lord of our lives. This world does not need a new version of Christianity, only a new demonstration of what a real Christian ought to be…

Think on these things …

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