September 7, 2021
Scripture: You shall surely destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. You shall tear down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars and burn their Asherim with fire. Deuteronomy 12:2-3 ESV
Observation: You don’t mess around with idols. There’s no compromise in leaving a remnant lying around. Otherwise, even a smidge will insidiously master us over time (a stronghold that addicts know all too well). Knowing this weakness in “fallen” humankind, Yahweh commanded his people to “devote to destruction” (a phrase used forty times in preparation and occupation of the Promise Land) all items and aspects of foreign idol worship. Moreover, when Israel devoted any idols to destruction, it was considered a sacred offering to the Lord. Why? Because idols compete for our affections. And our God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5, 34:15) who will not share our love for him with worldly attractions. So when we ruthlessly demolish the idols that compete for our time with and love for the Lord, we stand on holy ground with our sacred offerings.
Takeaway: Whether objects or relationships, if anything is getting in the way of drawing near to our Lord and enjoying him, we need to let go and walk away. Of course, if our idol is a loved one, then walking away may not be appropriate. Easier said than done? Yes, this is why we need the community of believers to support, encourage, and hold us accountable. And we may also need professional help to learn how to keep our focus on God and maintain our relationship with the other person free of the idolatrous dynamic.
Prayer: Father God, grant us the strength and courage to devote to destruction all things that compete for our affections with you. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling