THE GODS THAT MEN SERVE.
2 Kgs. 17:24-33.
1. Let us take time just here to read the text.
A. Here we find that the Assyrians had removed the conquered Israelites from the land and had repopulated it with people from other nations.
B. Through the efforts of a priest of Bethel the new inhabitants were taught concerning God.
C. They then recognized Jehovah but at the same time continued to serve their traditional idols.
2. Note the key passage: "They feared the Lord, and served their own gods." v. 33.
A. This seems to be a tendency found in all men, therefore children of God need to be warned about its danger.
3. The attitude of recognizing Jehovah while at the same time serving gods of their own making and choosing, led to the downfall of both Israel and Judah.
A. The kingdom of Israel:
1) Worshipped the golden calves of Jeroboam, as well as other pagan idols.
2) They refused to hearken to the warnings of the prophets.
3) They were carried away by the Assyrians as God's punishment for them.
B. The kingdom of Judah:
1) Rejected the golden calves of Jeroboam but still they fell into idolatry.
2) Even though they had several reforms to take place idolatry still came about.
3) The warnings of their prophets were ultimately rejected.
4) They were carried away into Babylonian captivity as punishment for their sins.
4. The present danger today:
A. Christians today could be guilty of the same sin by making a god out of certain common factors in today's world.
B. Such an action foos man into thinking that he is acceptable with God but in reality such action alienates him from God.
1) One who becomes a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Jas. 4:4.
I. THE FALSE GODS WE ARE TEMPTED TO SERVE:
A. The God Of Earthly Wisdom.
1. Christians often put too much emphasis upon earthly wisdom.
a. Placing its attainment at a level of greater importance than Bible study or service to God.
2. This is very unwise for we find that the philosophy of the world is:
a. Vain and deceitful; a corruptive influence. Col. 2:8.
b. Perverting. Isa. 47:10,11.
c. Human and temporary. Job 12:2; Col. 2:20-23.
d. Opposed to the revelation of God's word.
1) For example: The philosopher and writer Ayn Rand said on the Johnny Carson Show, "A rational person cannot believe in God." Thus she equated belief with irrationality.
3. Such attitudes as develop because of an over estimation of the value of earthly wisdom, are considered foolishness by God. 1 Cor. 3:18-20.
B. The God Of Materialism.
1. The material things of this world can easily be turned into an idol.
a. When this happens to a Christian, it is manifested in his unwillingness to give either time or money to the Lord.
1) Because of the value he places upon both in his efforts to amass material goods.
2. We should think twice about such tendencies as this since the Bible says that riches are:
a. Unreliable. Prov. 11:28; Lk. 12:13-21.
b. A premature and unfulfilling state. Lk. 6:24; 16:19-31.
c. A snare. 1 tim. 6:9; Lk. 18:22-25.
C. The God Of Pleasure.
1. Some Christians turn the seeking of pleasure into the most important aspect of their lives.
a. When they thus elevate pleasure, it becomes an idol to them.
2. The Bible tells us that the urge to fulfill the desires for pleasure:
a. Chokes us. Lk. 8:14.
b. Enslaves the one who seeks it. Titus 3:3.
1) Such is seen in the enslaving effects of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gambling, sports, TV, car racing, fishing, hunting, etc.
2) Anytime a pleasure of this world becomes more important to us than serving God, we are making such our idol.
c. Its pursuit is vanity and vexation. Eccl. 2:1-11.
D. The God Of Self.
1. Often we see expressed in the attitudes of an individual this exultation of self.
a. The conceited opinion that our own ideas, opinions, and preferences ought to be the standard of the world.
2. Such over confidence and self indulgence is unwarranted when we see that according to the Bible such pride is:
a. A state of hopelessness. Prov. 26:12.
b. Such pride of self precedes destruction. Prov. 16:18.
1) In 1 Kgs. 20:11, after Ben-hadad boasted of his coming victory over Israel, he was sent a message from Ahab in reply which stated to Ben-hadad, "Let not him that putteth his armor on boast himself as him that taketh it off." Beh-hadad was defeated, his pride underminded him.
c. A source of contention. Prov. 13:10.
d. We are warned against self-esteem and pride. Rom. 12:3.
1. We have seen how men can serve their self-made gods, while at the same time claiming their allegiance to Jehovah as Christians.
2. We have also observed that the Bible points out the weakness of all these self-made gods.
3. We know that service to idols results in judgment at the hand of God.
4. We all have a decision to make now concerning our service to God.
A. May we have the strength and courage to make the choice that Joshua made in Jos. 24:14,15.
5. Why not give up your man-made gods and serve the true and living God today?
By Jim Sasser
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