Monday, November 4, 2013

Merciful Monday: Worshiping Idols

“O Israel, my faithless people,
    come home to me again,
for I am merciful.
    I will not be angry with you forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt.
    Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and committed adultery against him
    by worshiping idols under every green tree.
Confess that you refused to listen to my voice.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!
14 “Return home, you wayward children,”
    says the Lord,
    “for I am your master.
I will bring you back to the land of Israel—
    one from this town and two from that family—
    from wherever you are scattered.
15 And I will give you shepherds after my own heart,
    who will guide you with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:12-15 NLT)

Jeremiah chapter 3 and 4 talk about worshiping idols. Like Israel- which had strayed from the God who released them from years of slavery, kept them safe and gave them manna from Heaven while wandering through the wilderness- we have strayed from God. Americans did not used to be afraid to say "In God We Trust" or "Merry Christmas," but we have begun to worship other idols such as commercialism and materialism. We see the value of the dollar and the ways in which we can manipulate it rather than trusting the inscription “In God We Trust" upon it. We see all the things we can get from others on Christmas Day rather than reflecting on and celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have definitely been guilty of it myself. Recently, I have begun to feel anxious about getting gifts for people for upcoming holidays, birthdays, etc. because above all else, I have been focused on only two things--pleasing those that I am giving to, and doing so without breaking the bank! Today's reading reminded me that we have to KEEP THE MAIN THING, THE MAIN THING. 

Jesus should be at the center of our hearts and at the center all we do. Gifts should be given out of love, mirroring the many gifts that God has given to us; gifts of grace, mercy, and redemption. Birthdays, baby showers, and bridal showers should be celebrations of new life and new blessings, not “show-off sessions” where everybody is checking for who gave the best gift and those who could not afford expensive gifts cower in fear of rejection. If we keep God at the center of all that we do, casting aside the idols/demons of DOUBT, FEAR, MATERIALISM, GOSSIP, or whatever else seeks to occupy our thoughts and our desires above God, he will keep us grounded. We will have a relationship with him in which we are not afraid to acknowledge our guilt and rebellion and cry out unto God for repentance (Jeremiah 3:13). We will not be ashamed to tell our business to the "shepherds" that God has given us, remembering that it is far more important to seek guidance through tough situations, knowledge of the word, and an understanding of the Lord  rather than to fuel the idols of pride and self-importance (3:15).

Our convenient acknowledgement of God as number 3, 5, or 10 on our list will not do. It just won’t cut it. God wants to give us the desires of our heart, but he wants to be #1. If we choose to throw away our idols, return to God, swear by His name, and stray away no more, only then can we be content, fulfilling our purpose to bless to the nations of the world and lead others to come and praise His name (4:1-2).

Watch “Counterfeit Gods” spoken word by Jefferson Bethke. Great video!!! 

Also, please remember to keep our Transforming Tuesday blogger, Jamera, and her family in prayer right now as they are going through a very difficult time. Your prayers are much appreciated.

Merciful Mondays: Jael
For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31

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