Scripture: 2 Kings 17:24-41
Key verse: (17:33) So they worshiped the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from whom they had been carried away.
Reflection: After the nation of Israel fell to the Assyrians, the king of Assyria brought people from other conquered places to dwell in the land. Those foreigners didn’t worship the LORD of Israel and experienced horrible consequences (eaten by lions!) The king brought in an Israelite priest to teach them how to worship the LORD thinking that would protect them from the anger of the LORD. But the people still made statues of their own gods and shrines for their worship.
In a sense they tried to weave the worship of the LORD in with their worship of other gods. They added the LORD into the mix rather than replacing their old gods with the LORD. The LORD was one among many, rather than the LORD alone.
For those of us raised in faith, we might struggle to identify a time when we were “strangers” moving into the land of faith. We might not be able to distinguish between a time before we had a relationship with God and a time after we knew God’s love. Perhaps that’s all the more reason we are called to examine our faith carefully. Have we just woven our faith in God into our lives as a nice addition or have we made God central in our lives? Have we continued worshiping other gods (success, security, approval, money, pleasure…?) while claiming to worship the LORD?
The call to live as God’s people is a radical and exclusionary call. We cannot worship other gods and claim to worship the LORD we know in Jesus Christ. We will fail. We will be imperfect. Yet the call remains clear. Put aside all else and worship the LORD alone.
Prayer: Dear God, you know how I am pulled in many different directions and I have competing loyalties. Forgive me. Give me clarity to see the ways that I am distracted from you. Give me courage to put aside other priorities to make you my Lord. In Christ name I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].