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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore the Lord has brought all this calamity on them.”—1 Kings 9:9 (NKJV)
From time to time, it’s healthy to zoom out and see the Bible through a wide-angle lens. This allows us to distinguish majors from minors and reminds us of what matters most. This is true when it comes to sin; for when we pull back and look at Scripture from one end to the other, we see one sin in particular that falls into the “major” category . . . idolatry.
Idolatry is something God is constantly warning His people against. He warns them right at the outset of the Ten Commandments. He warns them throughout Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness. He warns them as they are about to enter the Promised Land. He even warns them in the verse above that idolatry will be the death of their kingdom.
Yet despite all these warnings, we see idolatry rearing its ugly head throughout Israel’s history. Just about everywhere we look, there’s some hint or expression of idolatry. We even see it aboard the ship Jonah boarded to escape the divine calling on his life. Notice what the sailors did when the storm God sent started to engulf them: “The mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god . . .” (Jonah 1:5 NKJV).
Now, you may be tempted to check out on this devotional at this point because “idolatry” doesn’t seem as relevant to twenty-first century life as it might to ancient biblical times. But stay with this, because although much has changed over time, much remains the same.
Most of us don’t carry around idols in the form of stone or wooden sculptures, but we all harbor the essential ingredients for idolatry in our hearts. That’s because idolatry is simply the act of putting something in our lives before the true and living God.
Again, idolatry is relegating God to second place to anything in our lives, and we’re all prone to doing that in countless ways. Hobbies, hopes, friends, jobs, family, pleasures . . . they all have the potential of becoming idolatry if given priority ahead of God.
God’s warning against idolatry is just as much for us as anyone. Let’s heed the warning of this major sin before it does major damage in our lives.
DIG: What sin falls into the “major” category?
DISCOVER: Why is idolatry as relevant as ever? How should God’s warning against idolatry impact our daily decisions?
DISPLAY: Is there any idolatry in your life? Do an inventory, examine your life and pray over any areas where idolatry has crept in
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.