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April 27 Today’s Reading: 2 Kings 15-17
2 Kings 17:25-34
These three chapters cover a sad period in the history of Israel and Judah. Ahaz was king in Judah. Hoshea was king in Israel. Two more wicked men are hard to find in all the pages of history. The prophets Hosea and Isaiah were faithful servants of God in those dark, dark days. As in our day, in the days of those faithful prophets, idolatry was practiced everywhere, idolatry practiced in the name of worshipping Jehovah!
After settling in the land of Israel, the Samaritans professed faith in the Lord God, but continued to serve their own gods. They learned “the manner” of the Lord, but not the fear of the Lord. Their religion was an insult to God, for they refused to acknowledge that he alone is God. Though practiced in the name of God, it was idolatry of the worst kind, for its whole purpose was their own pleasure and satisfaction, not the glory of God. 2nd Kings 17 compels a question: Is our religion idolatry? Are we Samaritans, who worship God only in pretence, or are we “Israelites indeed,” who worship God in sincerity and truth? Let each one judge himself. But these things are certain…
1. Our religion is idolatry if we worship God only one day in seven. — True believers worship God continually. Their lives are lived for him (Colossians 3:1-3).
2. Our religion is idolatry if we sacrifice to God that which costs us nothing. We worship God only when we give him that which we need, only when we give him the best, the firstfruits of what we have been given by him (2 Samuel 24:24).
3. Our religion is idolatry if we are more interested in temporal, material things than we are in the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). — Charles Simeon once observed, “God in Christ is professedly the object of our worship: but the gods whom we really worship, and by choice, are the pleasures, and riches, and honors of this vain world. On them our heart is fixed. To them our time is devoted. And, if we but obtain them to the extent of our desires, we bless ourselves as having gained the objects most worthy of our pursuit.” If that is the case, our professed religion is nothing but idolatry.
4. Our religion is idolatry if we are more concerned for our own name and recognition than we are for the honor and glory of God (Psalm 115:1; Jeremiah 45:5). All who walk in the fear of God, in all things seek the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
5. Our religion is idolatry if we are more anxious to be happy and comfortable than we are to be a blessing, helpful, and useful to others by the blessing of God (Acts 20:24). Believers do not live for their own pleasure, but seek to be useful to one another and useful to the cause of Christ.
6. Our religion is idolatry if we profess to follow Christ but in reality refuse to do so (Matthew 15:8-9). It is the believer’s meat and drink to do his Father’s will.
7. Our religion is idolatry if our religion is man centered rather than Christ centered. In true religion, the will of God, the glory of Christ, and the gospel of God’s grace and glory in Christ are central and dominate (1 Corinthians 1:17-31).
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”