In Chapter 17 there is a chronicle of destruction. God itemizes the steps in the fall of Israel in 722 b.c. First, the people of Israel “had sinned against the Lord their God” (7) How had they sinned against the Lord? By mixing with the nations whom God had told them to drive out and by committing idolatry with their gods (7-12). Remember, idolatry is the act of worshipping something other than the one true God.
The second step was that God warned them by the prophets and seers telling them to repent and obey his Word, i.e., believe (13). Verse 14 makes clear that their disobedience of the Word constituted unbelief. Interestingly enough, that is exactly the same call that goes out to people who do not worship the Lord today. The message really hasn’t changed except for the full realization that Jesus, the Word made flesh, is the one to whom we turn in our repentance and faith.
How did they respond? That’s the third step. They were stubborn and continued in their idolatry (14-17). Which led to the fourth and final step of God removing them from his sight (18). What a tragic scenario was played out over these two hundred years.
Brothers and sisters, there is such real danger in idolatry. Of course, our idolatry is much more subtle. We don’t build images on high places and go up and bow down to them. Rather, we tend to make idols of material things or even people in our lives. A friend once defined an idol for me: Anything that one is not willing to give up for God is an idol. I would expand that a bit to saying: Anything that one puts before God in his heart is an idol. Could it be that as we say we long for spiritual awakening it doesn't come because we are caught up in idolatry?
Let us search our hearts. Is there anyone or anything that has captured God’s rightful place in our lives? If so, we must repent and believe by obeying the Word of the Lord and loving him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Prayer: Father, you alone are worthy of our worship. You alone are worthy of our praise. O, God, search our hearts and see if there be any wicked way in us and lead us back to your everlasting way. Show us, Father, if anything or anyone has captured our devotion above you. Help us to repent and trust in you alone.