Tag Archive | idolatry

7 Practical Lessons and Caveats from the Book of Judges

7 Practical Lessons and Caveats from the Book of Judges
If I were to be asked by someone about my favorite Bible book–one of the last books I would answer is the Book of Judges.

What is the Book of Judges all about anyway? It’s a book filled with stories of how God called and raised up judges for the apple of His eye–Israel. As I read this narration of Israel’s history, I realized how God’s peculiar people lived a cycle of repentance-sinful-living-repentance-type of lifestyle.

But friends, we are no different from them! We have the same sinful human nature as theirs and so reminders are necessary to help us maintain a consistent walk with God.

I know that I should not have kept this post in the back burner but I was so snowed under with so many stuff that I waited for my schedule to loosen up before I could share these musings I had from my study of the Book of Judges. They have been written on the margins of my Bible from the first week of July and then, wrote them in my journal. And yes, I am more than excited to share these with you.

First, idols can make anyone forget God’s word and godly moral values.  (Judges 2:11-12)

This is a cue for me personally.

Whenever I find myself prioritizing something or someone over my personal study of His Word, then I recognize it/him/her an idol.

Whenever I fail to obey God’s will because of anyone or anything, I consider it or him an idol.

Needless to say, whenever I find myself in that situation, I confess it to the LORD and find His same faithful forgiveness of my sin (1 John 1:9). Praise His name!

Second, God allows us to be enslaved by our enemies and “idols” when He sees unrepentant attitude in us. (Judges 3:12-14)

King Eglon ruled and controlled Israel for eighteen years! It’s all because God was disrespected by their worship of Baal and Ashteroth–two prominent idols of Israel in that period (Joshua 3:7).

This part of Israel’s history was not included in the canon of the Bible in vain. This is written for us to learn from the past. This is written to remind and warn us. 🙂

If we want to live a victorious life, God is calling us to love and serve Him with all our hearts and forsake idolatry. Here’s a detailed antidote to idolatry.

Third, God gives victory to those who love, trust, and obey Him. (Judges 4-5)

You might be familiar with the story of how Deborah, the only woman judge in Israel, courageously delivered her people from the hands of their enemies. She knew that Barak was supposed to lead them in fighting. Since he was hesitant to do so, Barak forfeited the honor of leading Israel’s victory. Instead, God gave victory to Israel through Deborah’s valorous leadership.

Fourth, peace is the mere fruit of obedience to God’s word. (Judges 5:31)

When Deborah led Israel, they “experienced 40 undisturbed years.”

Here’s a practical application for us: if we want a peaceful nation, we need leaders who will be brave enough to take a righteous stand in leading his people–someone who is not afraid to offend those who are disobeying God’s revealed standards of living.

Let’s pray for God to raise leaders who have such a reverence in Him that they will not be in favor of what God calls detestable.

Fifth, when God calls us to do His will, He gives  us His promise of presence and peace.

When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, ‘Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.’ Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” Judges 6:22-24 (NASB)

Sixth, it’s but natural to doubt God’s calling to serve Him but He is more than willing to prove and manifest His omnipotence. Yes, despite our fears and weaknesses! (Judges 6:37-40)

Who is our example in this passage? Yes, it’s Gideon. God encouraged Gideon to trust Him by granting his request to show signs.

Seventh, God sometimes commands us to follow a seemingly awful battle plan so He can get the glory when we obey Him. (Judges 7:7)

Do you remember how Gideon and his 300 men conquered the Midianites–their enemies? Yes, with trumpets and pitchers. Please don’t smirk. That’s how they won simply because they trusted God’s wise battle plan.

You see?

Trust God's Wisdom

Isn’t it a glorious thing to see victory led by God? We, believers, must fight our battles, not by might or swords but by faith in God’s Word!

There are many other lessons I have learned from the book of Judges but I guess the ones I mentioned above are the ones time has permitted me to do so.

What are the lessons that you have been learning from your Bible meditation time? Share them with us. We will love to be blessed and challenged by what God has been teaching you as well.

It’s my prayer that God would continue to glorify His name in our lives as we live for Him, bearing His word in our hearts and mind.

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The Antidote to Idolatry

Idolatry
My heart is full of shame in front of God! The more I saturate my heart with His Word and learn of His attributes, I feel more and more reverence for Him while I see more of my wickedness.

As I seek His evaluation of my heart by meditating upon His Word, I feel more and more guilty of a sin punishable by death–idolatry!

No, I didn’t mean that I carved a golden god, arrayed it in multihued garments, prayed to it and kept in my room!

I didn’t mean that I have posted photos of a model or a celebrity on the walls of my room and spent money on collecting her magazines!

Yet, I realize that I am having an idol.

In Christian lingo, an idol is anything that takes the place of God in our hearts. It can be a job, self-image, relationships, possessions and anything that diverts our attention and worship from Him alone.

Sadly, in this computer age, there are many things that can easily take God’s  stead in our hearts and this rivalry between God and idols around us goes on and on each day. It is a daily battle.

I have been reading the Bible without thinking whether I follow my reading plan or not. All I want this year is to read and meditate upon God’s word and eventually know Him experientially in a much deeper level.

This month, I have chosen to focus on the book of Deuteronomy. Reading through the chapters of this book, it is simply convicting how God reminded the Israelites through Moses how He hates idolatry!

“So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the LORD your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the LORD your God has commanded you. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” ~Deuteronomy 4:23-24

 Over and over, this type of reminder was mentioned and the greatest of all commandments is also written in this book. It says:

Deut. 6-5

And this verse encapsulates the antidote to idolatry–loving the LORD our God with all our being.

Now, how can we love the Lord our God with all our being? Let me give you a very short list of  what it means to love God with all our being. These are easier said and read than done.

1. Loving the LORD our God means  learning His word daily.

“It is simple.”, you may say. However, it’s one thing to read God’s word and it’s another thing to meditate upon (i.e. chew on, ponder upon) His statements.

Let’s revive the lost art of meditation! These days, it’s easy to like and follow Biblical Facebook pages but let me tell you this, there’s nothing much better than discovering jewels in God’s word by ourselves.

Going back to the fundamentals of spiritual growth is never old-fashioned! We need to ask God to give us the grace that will enable us to spend quality time with Him early in the morning and before we sleep.

Let’s remember that the time spent with God in meditation of His word and in prayers is never wasted! It doesn’t end in reading God’s word. We also need to think about how we can practically apply His word in our daily life and this leads to our next item.

2. Loving the LORD our God means living out His word daily.

Jotting down the important points that we learn from God’s word in a journal is priceless. We can look back to them and eventually, teach them to others. More often than not, we can use them when we are tested on what we have just recently learned about God and His Word regarding areas of our life. And here’s what’s awesome: God is glorified when we pass the test while claiming His grace through our testings! He is pleased and glorified when we are not just readers of His word but also doers of His word and will!

Now, how else can we manifest our love for God? That leads us to our next practical item.

3. Loving the LORD our God means longing to fellowship with Him daily.

When our hearts is filled with love for God, it overflows with a desire to seek Him. And here’s the promise to those who long to be close to Him.

“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.” Deut. 4:29

How are you and your relationship with God? It’s only you and God who can give an honest evaluation of your heart’s condition. Is God still on the throne of your heart? Is He still getting the time He deserves from you?

Do you continue to learn His word, live out His word and long to fellowship with Him daily? Oh that the Lord our God would speak to your heart as He spoke to me!

Here is the antidote to any form of idolatry, my dear friend: loving the LORD our God with all our being!