What are we sacrificing by worshipping our modern-day idols? Everything that we put before God, we are sacrificing our relationship with Him and worshipping something else. We are saying we don’t need you God; we need _____.
As I read through the book of Hosea, what was made clear to me was how a rebellious spirit leads to sin, sacrifices acknowledgement of God, and perverts our understanding of who God is and His will, making us foolish. Chaos abounds. We see that in these scriptures:
“Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel! The Lord has brought charges against you, saying: “There is no faithfulness, no kindness, no knowledge of God in your land. You make vows and break them; you kill and steal and commit adultery. There is violence everywhere— one murder after another… My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. Since you priests refuse to know me, I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children. The more priests there are, the more they sin against me. They have exchanged the glory of God for the shame of idols.”-Hosea 4:1-2, 6-7 NLT
“Their arrogance testifies against them, yet they don’t return to the Lord their God or even try to find him… They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts. Instead, they sit on their couches and wail. They cut themselves, begging foreign gods for grain and new wine, and they turn away from me.”-Hosea 7:10, 14 NLT
“Now Israel pleads with me, ‘Help us, for you are our God!’ But it is too late. The people of Israel have rejected what is good, and now their enemies will chase after them. The people have appointed kings without my consent, and princes without my approval. By making idols for themselves from their silver and gold, they have brought about their own destruction.” -Hosea 8:2-4 NLT
I was challenged to think, what do we put before God in this generation? What idols are we worshipping that make us foolish and what are we sacrificing to keep that idol in our life?
Selfishness– maybe our entitled, prideful, arrogant, stubborn and critical attitudes have left us to sacrifice true thanksgiving toward God, humble discernment, optimistic hope and empathy and compassion toward others. Maybe we are shining in our fleshly desires while sacrificing the spirit of God.
Fear/doubt– maybe we let fear or doubt rule over us, and we sacrifice our faith and trust in our God who has proven faithful time and time again if we would just remember the promises He has fulfilled and how He has and always will remain sovereign.
Anger/bitterness– maybe we allow our emotions to rule over us and we sacrifice practicing love and forgiveness in our life.
Success– maybe we are defining success not according to how God defines it in our life, and we are sacrificing our resources (time, money, effort, energy, life) for things that won’t satisfy, fulfill us.
Identity– maybe we have given ourselves authority to define who we are and are sacrificing God’s Lordship to define who we are. We are rejecting the image of His beautiful creation (thinking we know better than He does) and denying His glory and masterpiece He designed us to be.
Freedom– maybe we are abusing our freedom and sacrificing our character and integrity.
Work– maybe we are defining our value and worth based on a purpose we weren’t created for and we are sacrificing or outright ignorant to the talents and abilities God is trying to equip us to do that would give us lasting purpose.
Sex– maybe we are using connection with others on every level- emotional, physical, spiritual, psychological to fill a void in our life that only God was meant to fill and we are sacrificing acknowledgment of God and our relationship with Him. Our fulfillment in all these levels will never be satisfied.
Government/politics: maybe we’ve put our hope in the power of our government to protect, provide and care for us and we are sacrificing the Savior, Jehovah- Jireh and Jehovah- Rophe in our life who has the true power to provide all our needs, heal us and protect us.
Money/Materialism– maybe we care and put value things and we sacrifice our resources (time and money) that should be spent on people. Maybe we are chasing our wants and sacrificing our needs.
If we struggle with any of these idols, let us be willing to repent and read the last chapter of Hosea. God speaks hope, truth, grace and mercy into our sinful hearts, ready to receive us back that we may praise and glorify Him in true worship.
“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for your sins have brought you down. Bring your confessions and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises. Assyria cannot save us, nor can our warhorses. Never again will we say to the idols we have made, ‘You are our gods.’ No, in you alone do the orphans find mercy.” The Lord says, “Then I will heal you of your faithlessness; my love will know no bounds, for my anger will be gone forever. I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon… “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”-Hosea 14:1-5, 8-9 NLT