Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
Isaiah 44:20 ESV
Advent is the season of waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ, and I love it. What other time of year is the name of Jesus heard in songs everywhere you go? It’s on the lips of people who at any other time of year may not even acknowledge Him. I can’t put into words how I feel about the name Jesus. No name is sweeter and it’s EVERYTHING. Yet somehow in this season, everything other than Jesus gets the devotion of our heart…
Over the last month as I have been spending time with the Lord and reading Scripture, idolatry seems to be a recurring theme. It’s been a topic I’ve been pondering, especially now during the season of Advent, when our hearts should be focused on Jesus alone. An idol can be anything we put above God or anything we find more satisfying than Him. We all bow down to something because we were created to do so. We were created to worship. Because of this, it’s so easy to worship and idolize our children, our homes, our jobs and finances, our hobbies, our phones, social media, food, people, relationships and the list goes on and on. But God’s desire is for our whole heart to be solely focused on Him. He is whom we should find full satisfaction. (Psalm 63:5) There is a reason Scripture tells us to be careful, or we will be enticed to turn away and worship other things. (Deuteronomy 11:16) We all have hearts that are easily distracted and ever wandering. We need constant reminders of who God is and who we are called to worship. Let us examine our hearts and minds and ask Him to reveal in us the things that we are putting above Him. (Psalm 26:2) When we realize what they are, we then need to ask that they be put in their proper place. Often these things are necessary, but they should never be the priority of our heart.
Idolatry has been around since the beginning of time. In the Old Testament, idolatry is a major stumbling block for the Israelites. Here’s a short recap if you don’t remember the story. The Israelites were rescued from slavery in Egypt. They were guided through the desert where God miraculously provided them food and drink. Even though they experienced God’s salvation and provision, Scripture says God was not pleased with most of them because they craved evil things and worshiped idols, so their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. (1 Corinthians 10:5-6 Paraphrased) Even though the Israelites were saved, rescued, and provided for, they still turned away from God thinking they knew the better way. How often do we believe we know the better way?
I’ve been thinking about the Isaiah passage above in connection with idolatry for the last couple of weeks. “… a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?” (Isaiah 44:20) The verse says a “deluded” or deceived heart misleads us so we can’t see the “thing” we’re holding on to. Sin can be so deceptive that we don’t even recognize it. (Hebrews 3:12) I’ve been asking myself the last few weeks about the “things” that tend to take priority in my own life; “If they were taken away, would I still be fully satisfied in God alone? ” We need Jesus and His word DAILY! Why do we think we can live abundantly without His word breathing into our daily life? Scripture says if you hold on to truth, then the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31,32 Paraphrased) It’s so true. When I’m daily meditating on His words, “things” just seem to find their proper place. I’ve seen it time and time again. I’m not saying this is easy or that I’ve figured it, but I’m daily asking Him to give me a love that surpasses everything else in my life.
Lydia, my 18 month old, has recently learned that some toys are hers. She will grasp something up to her chest and scream if you try to take it away. Recently, it has been a toothbrush that she apparently can’t live without. I imagine like Lydia I’m grasping whatever it is up to my chest and telling God I don’t want to let it go. Like the Israelites, sometimes I think my way is best even though I’ve seen God’s hand in my life. It’s not always easy to put things in their proper place. However, I’ve learned God will only fill the parts of our life that we’re giving to Him and an abundant life comes from being fully surrendered. Let us “see to it brothers and sisters, that none of us have a sinful and unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12)
This Advent Season, I pray we would be people who truly seek after God and put Him first in our heart.
*My posts are topics God has placed on my heart, and I have felt that He wanted me to share. Please reach out if you have questions or comments. I love talking about Jesus.