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Summary: "...punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand of generations of those who love me and keep my commandments". Three-four generation vs. a thousand of generatio

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ILL. A certain credit card company has a commercial set in the board room of some international corporation. A merger is in progress. The CEO says: everything is set to be finalized on the 28th.

The janitor, who happened to sweep around, turns & says, "Sorry, I’m only available on the 12th. There is a moment of silence while the board members look at each other in wonderment. Then the CEO says, "OK, the 12th it is."

A narrator then asks, "Wouldn’t you like to world to revolve around you?" The commercial goes on to inform you that if you will subscribe to their credit card you can choose your own billing date. (Source:Sermoncentral/Illustration/Pride). What a disappointment!

In fact, most of us would like the world to revolve around us. This is particularly true in the religious realm. Multitudes seek a Church or religious group that fits their preference.

They go from one to another because they don’t like the preacher, the singing, the seating, etc. Failing to find the church that suits their ego, they may even resort to starting a new group or just quitting altogether and finding a service they like on TV.

We think everyone should agree with US and everything should revolve around us. But it seldom happens.

What is an idol? An idol is anything that takes the focus of God and puts it on something else.

What does your life center around? What is the primary focus?

An idol doesn’t have to be a bad thing; it can be a good thing. Some people park their idols in their garage. Some people park their idol at the marina. Some people put their idols in their safe deposit box.

Archaeologists tell us that in every culture throughout history there have been idols: Statues little gods or goddesses. Man has a desire, for some reason, to turn objects or people or things, into objects of worship. God does not like that.

He hates that! Idol worship is a serious thing. Look at verse 5 Ex. 20, last phrase – “..of those who hate me.” God is a jealous God and desires our worship exclusively.

In Bible times there were 3 primary idols. There was Baal (female counter part, Ashtorah), who was the god of sex. There was Mammon who was the god of money. And, there was Moloch who was the god of violence. Sex, Money, Violence – What does that sound like today? (Hollywood, movies, TV)

Our shrines are not made of wood, stone, clay or metal. Today we have mental images, not metal images. Sex, money and violence.

But today I chose not to just denounce the society around us and its fascination with entertainment, movies and video games. How about religion, a “God-in-a-box” religion that so many Christians guzzle in their backyard, can be as guilty as open rebellion against God?

What happens to God’s people when they loose sight of their God-given calling? What happens to God’s people when they fail to honor the word of God as their standard of lifestyle—when they mix worldly ideas with godly ideas and develop their world view and worship from that mixture?

What happens when they compromise the essence of godliness and only retain a form of godliness in its place? We get some answers to those questions when we read the book of Judges.

One of the theme of book of Judges is the “Canaanization of Israel.” (www.stpaulskingsville.org/pdf/biblestudy/ruth)

Israel was actually called to wipe out the Canaanite’s idols and then evangelize the world. God had delivered Israel out of Egypt and made them His covenant people. He had given them a mission in life.

Just as we have been given a Great Commission, they too were given a job to do. But they lost that sense of purpose. Instead they have found a way to cohabitate with the enemy, and even copy their phony idols.

V. 1 – 2. Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim aid to his mother, "The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it." Then his mother said, "The LORD bless you, my son!"

This is not the prophet Micah. He is a spoiled brat. His mother saved money and he decided to steal it -1100 shekels of silver. She didn’t know whom the thief was, so she pronounced a curse upon him.

He got scared when he heard that and returned it, not out of conviction, but out of fear. Rather than scolding him, she blessed him. She was so glad to get the money back. She said she was dedicating it to the Lord and then she made an idol with it.

V.3. When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, "I solemnly consecrate my silver to the LORD for my son to make a carved image and a cast idol. I will give it back to you."

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