Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

10. Worshipping Wrong Gods in The Right Way – Part 3

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Exodus 20:1-3“Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.You must not have any other god but me.”

1 Kings 11:1-8

“Now King Solomon loved many foreign women. Besides Pharaoh’s daughter, he married women from Moab, Ammon, Edom, Sidon, and from among the Hittites. The Lord had clearly instructed the people of Israel, “You must not marry them, because they will turn your hearts to their gods.” Yet Solomon insisted on loving them anyway. He had 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines. And in fact, they did turn his heart away from the Lord. In Solomon’s old age, they turned his heart to worship other gods instead of being completely faithful to the Lord his God, as his father, David, had been.Solomon worshiped Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. In this way, Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; he refused to follow the Lord completely, as his father, David, had done. On the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, he even built a pagan shrine for Chemosh, the detestable god of Moab, and another for Molech, the detestable god of the Ammonites. Solomon built such shrines for all his foreign wives to use for burning incense and sacrificing to their gods.”

It’s here lastly that we see the:

  1. PRIORITY

Verse 3 says, “You must not have any other god but me.”This first commandment stakes out a claim for God’s priority in our lives.The King James translates this, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.The use of “before me” had the sense in Hebrew of a man taking a second wife while the first one was still alive and thus throwing it in her face that his love was no longer exclusive for her. God is not interested in an affair he wants our hearts. Because when we love the Lord and other things it’s not long before our desire for Him gets diluted. We see this in the life of Solomon. Solomon started out strong, loving the Lord with his whole heart but over time his love for the Lord was replaced with a lust for life. I Kings 11:1-8 reveals that this lust turned into a love for other gods. As Solomon sought to manage his life and nation in his own strength and wisdom, he turned to political solutions instead of God’s presence to insure prosperity and strength. Instead of seeing marriage as a mirror to reflect God’s glory he saw it as a way to gain what he wanted. Solomon went from tolerating the gods of his foreign wife’s to trusting in them and using the treasures God had entrusted him with to build altars to worship them. We don’t just give them our time, we give them God’s treasure. His love for his foreign wives gradually became greater than his love for God, leading to a loss of freedom. We see a similar process occurring in our country today. What started as a nation under God has become a nation void of God. We have gone from being defended by God to being offended at God. Instead of seeing Him as a priority we see Him as a problem. What’s sobering to see here is that most of those who faltered in the Bible did so in the latter half of their lives, not the first half! It’s not just how you start the race but how you finish. So, let me ask you are you running the race or trying to coast in your relationship with Christ? Maturity doesn’t give us immunity when it comes to sin. Are you making the Maker your first priority or your last resort? This is more than just tagging God onto our lives it’s giving Him first place. Why is this first commandment so critical, because if kept it establishes the desire for all the other ones. God calls His people to be fully committed to the God HE IS, not the one they may want! The turning point in our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is. Where God is placed has a direct bearing on what our heart sees, and our attitudes show. This is seen in the following illustration Jim Smith went to church on Sunday morning. He heard the pianist miss a note during the worship, and he winced. He saw a teenager talking when everybody was supposed to be bowed in silent prayer. He felt like the usher was watching to see what he put in the offering plate and it made him boil. He caught the preacher making a slip of the tongue five times in the sermon. As he slipped out through the side door during the closing hymn, he muttered to himself, “Never again, what a bunch of clods and hypocrites!”Ron Jones went to church one Sunday morning. He heard the organist play an arrangement of “A Mighty Fortress” and he thrilled at the majesty of it. He heard a young girl take a moment in the service to speak her simple moving message of the difference her faith makes in her life. He was glad to see that this church was sharing in a special offering for the hungry children of Nigeria. He especially appreciated the sermon that Sunday–it answered a question that had bothered him for a long time. He thought as he walked out the doors of the church, “How can anyone come here and not feel the presence of God?” Both men went to the same church, on the same Sunday morning. Each found what he was looking for. What do you see when you go to church? What you see has a lot to do with what you are focused on. There was aman who told his Pastor that he wouldn’t be attending Church anymore.” When asked why he said, “I see people on their cell phones texting during the service, some are gossiping, some just aren’t living right, some are sleeping, some are staring at me, they are all just hypocrites.” The Pastor was silent. Then he said, “Can I ask you to do something for me before you make your final decision?” He said, “Sure, what’s that?” He said, “Take a glass filled to the brim with water and walk around the church two times and don’t let any water fall out of the glass.” He said, “Yes I can do that!” He went and got the glass of water and walked around the church two times. He came back and said proudly, “It’s done.” The pastor asked him these questions; “Did you see anybody on their phone? Did you see anybody gossiping? Was anybody living wrong? Did you see anyone sleeping?” He said, “I didn’t see anything because I was so focused on this glass, so the water wouldn’t spill out” He told him, “When you come to church, you should be just that focused on God, so that you don’t fall. That’s why Jesus said, ‘Follow Me’, He did not say follow them.” Don’t let your relationship with God be determined by how others relate with God. Let it be determined by how focused you are on God. All too often Israel worshipped the wrong gods in the way they should have worshipped God, with all their being. What about us? Are you settling for a luke warm love instead of a sold out one? God will not be second fiddle in our hearts and lives. As you look at the way you are currently living what does it say about your love for the Lord? What place does He have in your heart? Would others look at your life and accuse you of an absolute commitment to Christ or would they hardly even know you are a Christian? Are you sold out for the Savior or selling out for something else?

 

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