I never fail to be arrested by this statement about the nation of Israel, “They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless.” [2 Kings 17:15 NIV]. Earlier in the chapter the writer records, “The Israelites secretly did things against [Yahweh their Elohim] that were not right.” [v9] Secretly? Who did they think they were hiding from? How could they believe that their secrets were not open before the very One they were hoping to deceive? They blatantly turned away from the commandments, they made two idols in the shape of calves, they worshipped Baal, bowed themselves to the stars, practised witchcraft, and even sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. What?? They thought Yahweh wouldn’t notice? That these things were secret? What a tragedy.
Even more of a tragedy was what this behaviour cost them. How serious that the chosen people, the royal nation, should become worthless. I wonder how important and energised they felt as they indulged in their self-seeking, yet intrinsically worthless, pleasures? Our beloved Father lovingly allowed Israel’s triumphs and tragedies to be recorded so that we might be warned and learn from them. [1 Cor. 10:11] So I must ask myself what lesson I can learn from this disturbing statement.
It is a divine principle that we reap exactly what we sow [Gal. 6:7]; Yahweh attached it to His creation as a source of blessing, but it can equally be a source of pain or disaster. What we allow ourselves to become involved with has a significant effect on us; following worthless idols produced worthless people. The apostle Paul wrote, “Don’t you realise that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?” [Rom. 6:16 NLT] We can become ‘slaves’ of fashion, or music, social media, or learning, or a host of different things in our modern world. Whatever we choose for gifts of significant quantities of our time and attention will ultimately affect who and what we become. Allowing Yahweh to be the centre of our thoughts, His will to be the focus of our lives, and holiness to be the desire of our hearts, will ensure that we become more and more like our beloved Yahshua.