Details of the life of Hoshea, the last king of Israel, are to be found in 2 Kings 17. Here we read, too, of the nation’s eventual exile from the land because of Yahweh’s displeasure at their consistent failure to live according to His covenant commandments. Having been used by Yahweh to deport and disfranchise Israel, the King of Assyria brought in strangers to repopulate the land [2 Kings 17:24]. Eventually he was obliged to send an Israelite priest back to Israel to instruct the incomers what Yahweh [as God of the land] expected from them. However, in spite of this instruction, tragically the record states that “Even while these people were worshipping [Yahweh], they were serving their idols” [v41]. For me this is a very disturbing statement, and I wonder about it being, as Paul said, ‘a warning to us’?
Is it possible, in our day, to be serving idols even while we are worshipping Yahweh? Can the two things co-exist? Although we may not be overtly worshipping gods of wood or stone, yet an idolatrous system of worship does pervade our world. Humanity has always sought out heroes and idols to venerate. Today the adulation fastens on the rich and famous, the body beautiful, money, assets, position, designer labels and so on; a ‘must have’ pressure can effortlessly take hold of the heart. Let’s be watchful over our souls, taking care not to be consumed by ‘the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life’ [1 John 2:16]. Let’s steady the heart and refuse to bow at the footstools of idolatry!
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