2 Kings. 17:24-33.

Here we find that the Assyrians had removed the conquered Israelites from the land and had repopulated it with people from other nations.
Through the efforts of a priest of Bethel the new inhabitants were taught concerning God.
They then recognized Jehovah but at the same time continued to serve their traditional idols.
Note the key passage: "They feared the Lord, and served their own gods." v. 33.

Learning From The Past
Our world seems to have forgotten to learn from history.
Failures of the past seem to be repeated often.
This seems to be a tendency found in all men, therefore children of God need to be warned about its danger.
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.

The Kingdom Of Israel
The northern 10 tribes separated during the reign of Rehoboam.
This kingdom only lasted about 200 years.
Worshipped the golden calves of Jeroboam, as well as other pagan idols.
They refused to hearken to the warnings of the prophets.
They were carried away by the Assyrians as God's punishment for them.

The Kingdom Of Judah
Rejected the golden calves of Jeroboam but still they fell into idolatry.
Even though they had several reforms to take place idolatry still came about.
The warnings of their prophets were ultimately rejected.
They were carried away into Babylonian captivity as punishment for their sins.

The Present Danger
Christians today could be guilty of the same sin by making a god out of certain common factors in today's world.
Such an action fools man into thinking that he is acceptable with God but in reality such action alienates him from God.
One who becomes a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4.
We are supposed to learn from history Romans 15:4, 1 Corinthians 10:6-12.

False Gods That Are Served
The God Of Earthly Wisdom.
Christians often put too much emphasis upon earthly wisdom.
Placing its attainment at a level of greater importance than Bible study or service to God.
This is very unwise for we find that the philosophy of the world is:
Vain and deceitful; a corruptive influence Colossians 2:8.
Perverting Isaiah 47:10,11.
Human and temporary Job 12:2; Colossians 2:20-23.
Opposed to the revelation of God's word.

The God Of Materialism.
The material things of this world can easily be turned into an idol.
When this happens to a Christian, it is manifested in his unwillingness to give either time or money to the Lord.
Because of the value he places upon both in his efforts to amass material goods.
We should think twice about such tendencies as this since the Bible says that riches are:
Unreliable Proverbs 11:28; Luke 12:13-21.
A premature and unfulfilling state Luke 6:24; Luke 16:19-31.
A snare 1 Timothy 6:9; Luke 18:22-25.

The God Of Pleasure.
Some Christians turn the seeking of pleasure into the most important aspect of their lives.
When they thus elevate pleasure, it becomes an idol to them.
The Bible tells us that the urge to fulfill the desires for pleasure:
Chokes us Luke 8:14.
Enslaves the one who seeks it Titus 3:3.
Such is seen in the enslaving effects of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gambling, sports, TV, car racing, fishing, hunting, etc.
Anytime a pleasure of this world becomes more important to us than serving God, we are making such our idol.
Its pursuit is vanity and vexation. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11.

The God Of Self.
Often we see expressed in the attitudes of an individual this exultation of self.
The conceited opinion that our own ideas, opinions, and preferences ought to be the standard of the world.
Such over confidence and self indulgence is unwarranted when we see that according to the Bible such pride is:
A state of hopelessness Proverbs 26:12.
Such pride of self precedes destruction Proverbs 16:18.
A source of contention Proverbs 13:10.
We are warned against self-esteem and pride Romans 12:3.

We have seen how men can serve their self-made gods, while at the same time claiming their allegiance to Jehovah as Christians.
We have also observed that the Bible points out the weakness of all these self-made gods.
We know that service to idols results in judgment at the hand of God.
We all have a decision to make now concerning our service to God.
May we have the strength and courage to make the choice that Joshua made in Joshua 24:14,15.

By Carey Scott based on a sermon by Jim Sasser

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