The new face of idolatry…

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2 Kings 17: Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land (of the northern kingdom of Israel) and came to Samaria (the capital city in the north); for three years he besieged it. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria…This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God… They had worshiped other gods and…12 they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this.”

You will recall that the unified kingdom of Israel under King David had split in two – a northern kingdom and southern kingdom. Here the Assyrians defeat the northern kingdom and lead the surviving Israelites away as slaves. Why? “They had worshipped other gods” (v.7). Of all the sins of the people, it was idolatry that God objected to most. Remember that the very first of the 10 commandments was “You shall have no other gods before me”. In Martin Luther’s small catechism he explains this first commandment as:

” We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.”

I have a confession. Like many Americans in recent weeks, I’ve found myself getting into heated debates about the November 3rd elections. I’ve felt myself grow increasingly confrontational, almost hostile. Until finally, a couple of days ago, I sensed the Lord telling me “enough”. Then I believe God showed me the root of the energy I was expressing in negative, divisive ways. I was confronted with the fact that I had been trapped in a form of idolatry – that I’d been sucked into the secular notion that my hope and trust lay in the political system of elections and politicians, lawsuits and courts.

It is a lie.

My hope and trust – and yours brothers and sisters – is in the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. Period. It’s perfectly acceptable to participate in the political process, but we’ve no need to fear or be anxious. When conversations start to divide people, turn loves ones from loved ones, pit Christians against other Christians, divide a nation formed “under God”, we have surely gone astray. We might as well carve a statue and bow down to it. I feel as though I’ve been convicted by the Spirit, but at the same time set free from the power of evil and a demonic spirit of division.

Lord let it be so. Amen.

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