Summary: Today’s church struggles with idolatry just like the nation of Israel struggled with it. Repeatedly Israel invited God’s displeasure by their dual allegiance which was and is idolatry.
Who is Your God?
“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” -
Today’s church struggles with idolatry just like the nation of Israel struggled with it. Repeatedly Israel invited God’s displeasure by their dual allegiance which was and is idolatry. While we may not carve out grotesque images of wood and stone we may still find ourselves guilty of idolatry. Idolatry is giving divine honor, reverence, admiration, and devotion to and ascribing divine power to a created thing rather than to the Creator God, with the hope of obtaining a meaningful and fruitful life. Elijah saw the condition of Israel’s dual allegiance and challenged Israel to settle the issue as to who or what their god was. The church must settle the issue as to who their God is.
I. The Condition of Dual Allegiance
A. “How long halt ye between two opinions?”
B. Elijah confronted the people of Israel. They were guilty of worshipping both God and Baal. He asks them, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions?"
C. In addition to worshipping Jehovah they were seeking to worship Baal.
D. Baal - The Hebrew noun ba‘al means ‘master’, ‘possessor’ or ‘husband’. Baal was the Canaanite god of weather. They referred to him as the lord of rain and dew. He was the storm god who rode on the clouds. Lightning was his weapon. His consort was Asherah, the mother goddess worshipped by the prophets of the groves.
E. Israel’s dual allegiance was a familiar pattern as they yielded to the influences of the culture around them.
F. The charge of this dual allegiance is seen in Hosea 10:2 “Their heart is divided; now they are held guilty.”
G. This dual allegiance of Israel was nothing short of committing idolatry. The Holy Scriptures likens or equates idolatry with spiritual adultery.
H. Jeremiah 3:8-9 (NET) “…I gave wayward Israel her divorce papers and sent her away because of her adulterous worship of other gods. Even after her unfaithful sister Judah had seen this, she still was not afraid, and she too went and gave herself like a prostitute to other gods. Because she took her prostitution so lightly, she defiled the land through her adulterous worship of gods made of wood and stone.”
I. Idolatry is either the worship of false gods or the worship of the true God in a false way. Also when one gives honor and worship to the creature which is due only to the Creator, one becomes an idolater.
J. They wanted “to have their cake and eat it too”—they wanted both God and the spiritual high of idolatry. They wanted to be married to God and still keep their lovers.
K. The worship of false gods occurs when we put anything above God. That object, person, activity, desire, or thought, becomes an idol and occupies the place that should be occupied by God.
L. God's unalterable command recorded in Exodus 20:3-5 was clear: “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.”
M. Many of us are guilty of having more than one god:
1. We have the Lord and our house
2. We have the Lord and our family
3. We have the Lord and our recreation
4. We have the Lord and our career and work
5. We have the Lord and sports
6. We have the Lord and our finances
7. We have the Lord and entertainment.
8. We have the Lord and....... We struggle as to which will have precedence or preeminence in our lives.
N. God clearly says dual allegiances do not work.
O. Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
P. Seeking to worship God as well as following after something else is the same as going to your spouse and saying, "Honey, I love you and I'm going to stick by you, but I'm going to keep another lover on the side as well."- copied
II. The Causes for Dual Allegiance
A. The reason for seeking to maintain a dual allegiance is touched on in the definition we gave for idolatry. Idolatry is giving divine honor, reverence, admiration, and devotion to and ascribing divine power to a created thing rather than to the Creator God, with THE HOPE OF OBTAINING A MEANINGFUL AND FRUITFUL LIFE.