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The Real Battle:: IDOLATRY


But the LORD said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings. That is why the Israelites are running from their enemies in defeat. For now Israel itself has been set apart for destruction. I will not remain with you any longer unless you destroy the things among you that were set apart for destruction. “Get up! Command the people to purify themselves in preparation for tomorrow. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Hidden among you, O Israel, are things set apart for the LORD. You will never defeat your enemies until you remove these things from among you. (Joshua 7:10-13, NLT)

The challenges that Israel faced during their conquest of the land could be described more so as internal than external. No material, physical enemy posed a greater threat than the internal, spiritual conflict brought on by isolation and idolatry.

Typically when pastors and teachers talk about Achan’s sin, they point out the key phrases…”I saw…I coveted…I took…I hid,” then make applications around greed or the sin of coveting. But I think greed and coveting are symptomatic of a deeper issue, namely idolatry. The word idolatry often falls on our ears and creates images of people in undeveloped countries bowing in ignorance before carvings made out of wood or stone. But there’s more to idolatry than the graven image. Idolatry is when a person takes a good thing and makes it a God thing. And that’s a bad thing.

For example, take the gold and silver Achan found. Is there anything wrong with gold and silver? No. Is there anything wrong with possessing gold and silver? Again, the answer is no. But when the good thing becomes our security and satisfaction and serves as a functional savior, then it has become a God thing, and that’s a bad thing.

Your heart is like a pedestal upon which you enthrone the object of your worship. Every day you make the decision about who or what you will enthrone. This creates a huge problem. According to Psalm 135:15-18, “those who make them (idols) will become like them.” In short, you become like the object of your worship. As you continue to read the history of Israel as presented in the Old Testament, you’ll see that idolatry is a generational issue for the people.

So what is on the pedestal of your heart? May we be diligent each day to establish and enthrone Jesus Christ as Lord!

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