No Place for Idols

Whitney Capps

Day: 7 | Plan: Deuteronomy

Today's Reading: Deuteronomy 7

Deuteronomy 7:5-6 (NIV)This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.”

In the Ancient Near East, God’s people were unique in many ways. Perhaps the most significant difference is Israel’s monotheism. This means that Israel worshiped one (mono-) God (-theos). Nearly every other nation was polytheistic, meaning they worshiped many gods.

In fact, for these ancient cultures, their spiritual lineup was a constantly revolving door of deities. Pagans worshiped gods of distinct features of nature or gods over certain virtues. The list was long and diverse; their idols shared the people’s affections. Their worship was divided among many. This is the opposite of monotheism. This kind of worship offends God.

Our God, and Israel’s God, would not sit among other gods. He does not tolerate divided affection. He is ONE God. He has dominion over creation. He does not share His place of worship. He stands alone—not just by His supreme character but also by His command. We don’t worship the One True God merely because He is uniquely superior to all others. We worship Him alone because He demands our singular affection. He will not be worshiped among others. Our God is to be worshiped at the exclusion of all others.

This is why God commanded Israel to tear down all the sacred places of idol worship as they entered the Promised Land. There must be no possibility for Israel to be pulled into the pagan practices of Canaan.

God didn’t just say avoid the pagan temples or ignore the Asherah poles to fake gods and goddesses. No. God said to destroy them.

Idolatry is a hungry cancer that spreads unless it is completely wiped out. Ignoring the ache for “more” doesn’t kill the disease. We must be committed to fighting it head-on, shake off denial and take the medicine God prescribes: utter devotion to Him alone.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that I don’t love You with unrivaled affection. Help me see the idols in my life. Teach and enable me to destroy those idols’ hold on me. May Your amazing love stir in me a deep, deep devotion to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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