How deep is your Christianity? Is it just a veneer or is it who you are? How do you respond to God’s dealings with you? Do you pray and read your Bible only when the heat is on and stop once the pressure is off? Have you added a little “Christianity” to your life without truly making Jesus Lord?
2 Kings 17 & 18
2 Kings 17 & 18:
A Christian veneer
In chapter 17 we see what John MacArthur calls “divine patience” come to an end concerning the Northern Kingdom. Their continued idolatry and disobedience to God’s commands brought the judgment of captivity.
God has not changed (Heb. 13.8). While He is patient and merciful with us, His patience will not on go forever. As a nation and as individuals, if we continue in disobedience to the clear commands of Scripture, if we practice idolatry, if we worship God half-heartedly, we will eventually suffer the consequences of our choices, as well.
What is idolatry?
Someone asked me, what is “idolatry”? We usually think of bowing down to some statue or image, but that is not the only form of idolatry. Ezekiel 14 talks about idolatry of the heart. Anytime we put other things, other people, or other relationships above loving, serving, and pleasing God, we have placed that person or that thing on the throne of our hearts in place of God.
We practice idolatry when …
We say “I know what God says about pre-marital sex, but if I want to have a boyfriend.”
We refuse to forgive because what they did is just too awful.
We justify sinful anger.
We lie, cheat, or steal because “everybody does it.”
We refuse to submit to or show respect for our husbands because “they might be wrong” or “they don’t deserve it.”
Too many times we are like the pagan people who were brought in by Assyria to occupy the land they had conquered in the Northern Kingdom of Samaria. God sent lions in to attack them, so they called for a priest who knew the “God of the land” (v. 27). They continued living life and worshipping what they wanted; they simply added a little “Jewishness” to their rituals.
How like us! We get tired of the “lions” so we turn to God. We make a few concessions to Him. We start coming to church. We may get some new friends and tone down our language, at least around other Christians. We add a little “Christianity” to our lives. But if our hearts have not truly changed, if we have not truly made Jesus Lord, if we don’t change our thinking, if we don’t truly surrender to God … as God, we’ll soon be living, speaking, and acting the way we used to. Jesus will have been dethroned for some idol.
The psalms are full of the prayers and praises of real people and a great place to go when we are hurting and don’t know how to pray. Here the psalmist is praying for God’s help and deliverance from his trials.
A good thing
Verse 18 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing …” Does that verse describe you, ladies? Can your husband see God’s blessings through your life and ministry to him? Husbands, do you see your wives as “a good thing”? We all need to view the blessings and circumstances of our lives as coming from the hand of a loving God.
As we start another New Testament book, we are reminded that Jesus “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God” (v. 3). Then He left their testimonies for us to read. Our faith is not based on wishful thinking. It is based on the infallible, inerrant Word of God, including the testimonies recorded in Scripture.
What about you? Questions to ponder or journal:
How deep is your Christianity? Is it just a veneer or is it who you are?
How do you respond to God’s dealings with you? Do you pray and read your Bible when the heat is on only to stop once the pressure is off? Do you seek God’s wisdom or worldly wisdom when things aren’t going well?
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