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Summary: Choose this day if you will worship the Lord or contemporary idols. Find out what are the consequences for making the wrong choice.

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Overcoming the Mistakes of Idolatry (Josh. 17:1-18)

Quote:Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshiped.

Augustine.

Many people are living only for earthly pleasures that cannot satisfy their deepest longings. Millions of people vainly pursue money, fame, power, prestige, or pleasures in futility. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matt. 5:6) Let us look at the problems of living for things that perish instead of the things that endure for eternal life.

Why Should We Worship God Instead of Idols?

a. Receive long term benefits instead of short term pleasures

b. Experience the fruits of morality instead of trying to gain satisfaction through sensuality

c. Enjoy the benefits of a high ethical standard instead of cow-towing to the low ethical levels of our society.

d. Have the discernment to know when to flee from evil and cling to what is good instead of approving questionable practices.

e. Freedom to live by the Spirit instead of by the whims of circumstantial pressures.

f. Have the fruits of the Spirit course through all of your relationships instead of the works of the flesh with its hate, envy, and self-destructive practices.

g. Experience the renewal of your mind, attitude and energy level instead of being dragged down by the mind that is set on the flesh which is death.

The Mistake of Idolatry – (Judges 17:1-6)

Micah stole 1,100 piece of silver from his mother and he heard her condemning him. He panicked and felt he was forced to return the money out of fear of being cursed. Micah gave in to his fears of the powers of evil forces. When the son returned the silver his mother said,

"Blessed be my son by the Lord. I wholly dedicate the silver to the Lord for my son to make a graven image." (Judg. 17:3) Micah’s mother responded with a blessing because she was both a thief and an idol worshipper in her heart. She paid the idol maker 200 silver pieces for the idols and gave them to Micah, but kept 900 piece of silver. She went back on her promise to the Lord. In those days, 10 pieces of silver was equal to an entire year’s salary.

1. Many people, throughout history, have vainly placed their trust in idols. The Greeks used to sacrifice an ox to the god of the flies. The Egyptians worshipped insects. The Phoenicians chained the images of their idols to their altars so their gods would not fly away. Idol worshippers in Rome made charms out of the intestines of sheep. Even Plato, the father of philosophy, thought the stars needed pastures to get their food for nourishment. God said, "You shall have no other gods before Me!" (Exodus 20:3)

Illustration:Though we do not face a pantheon of false gods like the Israelites did, we face pressures from a pantheon of false values--materialism, love of leisure, sensuality, worship of self, security, and many others. The second commandment deals with idols. This may be something that most of us can’t relate to--unless we include life goals that revolve around something other than God Himself. What is the object of our affections, our efforts, and our attention? Where does the majority of our time go? On what do we spend the greatest amount of our resources?


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