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Doctine Talk – Idolatry

(weekly I write a five minute “doctrine talk” based on the doctrine in the passage of scripture we are studying in “People of the Promised Land 1 – Bible Study Fellowship” )

Joshua gave clear and repeated instructions to Israel to worship and serve God only.

God spoke these words though Moses in the ten commandments.  He started with “you shall have no other gods before me” and continued with “you shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them…”(exodus 20:3-5)

The doctrine this week is Idolatry.  I will primarily be pulling from Joshua 23 if you want to follow along.

The definition of idolatry is “worshipping anything or anyone in the place of God.”  I’m thinking, I am good here.  I don’t bow down to any statues and you won’t find any carved images in my house.  But as we all know, there is more to it, much more.  So does our God have an ego.  Just a crazy, jealous God who wants us to worship Him alone so that we can’t have anything else in this life?  Answer:  NO.

In Joshua’s “farewell to the Leaders” Joshua chapter 23.  He summons all the leaders of Israel together and gives them a little pep talk.  He reminds them, you know all the success you’ve had, all the battles you’ve won, the land you have taken? “It was the Lord your God who fought for you” Joshua 23:3.  He also said in verses 9-11 the Lord would continue to fight for them “just as He promised, therefore be very careful to love the Lord your God.”

This is a reminder for us for me:  Tina, you know the provision God has made for you after James died, you lost an entire income but never struggled financially.  That daughter He loaned to you, should be a mess being raised by a single mom according to the worlds standards but no.  He has been faithful.    Now your turn…take a minute, think/hear God remind you…where have you seen Him provide/protect/rescue you?

Moving on in chapter 23, Joshua then spells out the warning…look in Joshua 23:12-13 ”but if you turn away and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that the Lord your God will no longer drive out these nations before you.  Instead they will become snares and traps for you, whips on your backs and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from this good land, which the Lord your God has given you.”

Idolatry happens when things/people/relationships become a substitute for God or become the object of our pursuits, worship, adoration and longings instead of or secondary to God.

God’s jealousy is not motivated by insecurity, anxiety, frustration, self-centeredness, pride, or spite, as is often the case with man’s jealousy.  God’s desire for total surrender and worship of Him is for our benefit because idols do not deliver on their promises.  We pursue idols with the false belief that if we only have them we will be satisfied.  Yet we never enjoy lasting satisfaction from attaining them.  (as every married woman can say..amen)

What is the root of idolatry?  Some would say covetousness I tend to think its pursuit of happiness.  Think about it, how often do you justify your time with what would please you or make you happy?  How concerned with the “present” are you over the future? Or eternity?  When Avery and I get stuck in our “womanly whine”, you know the one…but, I deserve, but, I just want to have fun, but, he’s cute (and not God’s best), I I I.  That’s idolatry.  Of myself, my need, my emotions, and I respond in ways that focus on me rather than God and His desires.  My greatest idol is me.  What’s yours?

I can’t end without some good news.  Cause that’s just who I am, the half full girl rather than the half empty.  The good news?  Is the GOOD NEWS.  Jesus gets it!  He gets me!  That’s why God sent Him for me!  Because left to myself, without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit I would continue on the path of Me-ism.  And no one likes a selfish, self centered, self consumed person, I wouldn’t even like me if that was me.

I will leave you with this verse that has been ministering to me in many ways: 2 Peter 1:3.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

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