I was reading in II Kings 17 this morning and something caught my eye. Let me set the stage of what was happening. The king of Assyria had defeated the Israelite nation and had taken many of them captive back to his country. He then took other nations that he had conquered and had them settle in the Israelite nation including people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharviam. The chaos that was created caused the Assyrian King to call a priest from Israel to journey back to the land and teach the people the rules that God required for the land to be at peace.
The priest went back and did the very thing that the King of Assyria had commanded the priest to do. What ensued caused me to ponder what was happening during that time as well as think about what is happening today. It says in II Kings 17:41, “Even while these people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their ancestors did.”
I went to the dictionary to define idol and it says, “An idol is an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed or any person or thing regarded with admiration, adoration or devotion.” (Wikipedia) We don’t have deities for the most part in Christian circles except for the Lord God. What is interesting though in the rest of the definition is the phrase, “any person or thing regarded with admiration, adoration, or devotion.”
My mind began to think of the devotion we have in our society for social media such as Facebook, texting, twitter, the internet, games, etc. When you go to a restaurant, you often find people eating together, but there is total silence. I once timed a couple who sat down for lunch and they didn’t talk with one another for 25 minutes while they both were on their phones. They had a total devotion to the phone rather than interacting with their significant other.
Watching TV and especially sports on TV is my greatest temptation. This last fall when the football season came on, I sat and watched 5 games consecutively on one particular Saturday. I had little to no interaction with my family and at the end of the day, I had blown opportunities to connect with them watching sports. There was no profit for me when I began to analyze the day, and I lost opportunities for doing other things with people I love. I determined that I needed to take control of my schedule and time, or others and things would.
I believe that all of us are tempted to put people or things in that idol class and cause us to slip into a dual worship. Watching sports on TV is not in itself wrong, but when we begin to become devoted to it, it causes us to slip into a dual worship mentality. Idols can take many forms in our society. We can idolize our children and put them above anything and everybody else. It can be a myriad of things. Shopping. Boating. Fishing. Reading. Serving. Etc. An idol is anything or anyone that causes us to become unbalanced in our priorities in life.
Spending daily time with the Lord can be a buffer for us so that He can convict us when we are leaning too much toward idol worship. It’s good to take a periodic evaluation of our lives and the way we spend our time so that we don’t develop a dual worship.
The last sentence in that passage is revealing. Whatever we do becomes an example for future generations to follow. We are building a legacy every day by the choices we are making in the way we spend our time and the devotion and admiration we have for people and things around us.
On this journey be careful of pitfalls and temptations that can cause us to develop double vision. Our next generation is watching.