Kings and Idols
Sunday, November 2, 2014
2 Chronicles 7:12-22
Hosea 8:1 Put the trumpet to your lips!
Like an eagle the enemy comes against the house of the Lord,
Because they have transgressed My covenant,
And rebelled against My law.
2 They cry out to Me,
"My God, we of Israel know Thee!"
3 Israel has rejected the good;
The enemy will pursue him.
4 They have set up kings, but not by Me;
They have appointed princes, but I did not know it.
With their silver and gold they have made idols for themselves,
That they might be cut off.
5 He has rejected your calf, O Samaria, saying,
"My anger burns against them!"
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
6 For from Israel is even this!
A craftsman made it, so it is not God;
Surely the calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces.
7 For they sow the wind,
And they reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads;
It yields no grain.
Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.
8 Israel is swallowed up;
They are now among the nations
Like a vessel in which no one delights.
9 For they have gone up to Assyria,
Like a wild donkey all alone;
Ephraim has hired lovers.
10 Even though they hire allies among the nations,
Now I will gather them up;
And they will begin to diminish
Because of the burden of the king of princes.
11 Since Ephraim has multiplied altars for sin,
They have become altars of sinning for him.
12 Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law,
They are regarded as a strange thing.
13 As for My sacrificial gifts,
They sacrifice the flesh and eat it,
But the Lord has taken no delight in them.
Now He will remember their iniquity,
And punish them for their sins;
They will return to Egypt.
14 For Israel has forgotten his
Maker and built palaces;
And Judah has multiplied fortified cities,
But I will send a fire on its cities that it may consume its palatial dwellings. NASB
2 They cry out to Me, "My God, we of Israel know Thee!"
3 Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him.
4 They have set up kings, but not by Me; They have appointed princes, but I did not know it.
With their silver and gold they have made idols for themselves, That they might be cut off.
Back in the time of the judges Israel began asking for a king so they could be like all the nations around them. God gave them Saul, and when Saul refused to obey God, God gave them David. After this, The kingship became a thing of birthright. Just like all the nations around Israel.
Here, God says through Hosea that “they have set up kings, but not by Me. They have appointed princes, but I did not know it.” Whether the king is elected or by birth, He must lead the people in the service of God. This is God's plan for human government.
Whether you are choosing leaders for the church, or leaders for the county or nation, we need to be led by God. God has a people in this time, even as He had a people in Hosea's time. As God told Elijah, there were still 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. God has always had a people. Not always have God's people chosen their leaders. Not always have God's people allowed God to help them select their leaders.
Who will lead us? Who will set the standards for our communities? Who will we follow? Will we choose kings and leave God out of it? That path leads to idolatry and is a downward spiral toward destruction.
Whether we are the ones in leadership or the ones choosing leaders, we must look to God for guidance. We must submit ourselves to the truth that He is Lord of All. We must submit to God, who is the Lord. We do not choose to make Him Lord. We choose to accept that He is Lord.
The most important quality to look for in our leaders is the quality of godliness. Godliness is not god likeness. It is the presence of God in ones life. Who or what is the foundation of all that you do? Who is in charge of your life; you, God, or something else you have put in His place?
Israel loved serving golden calves. Why golden calves? They picked up the idea in Egypt. When they came out, the first thing they asked Aaron to do when Moses had been gone for a few days was to have him fashion a golden calf for them to worship.
Later, when the kingdom was divided, Israel, the Northern Kingdom once again set up a golden calf to worship.
When Solomon became king and built the temple his father had wanted to build, God appeared to him at night. Well listen:
2 Chronicles 7:12-22
12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, "I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 15 Now My eyes shall be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 And as for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked even to do according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18 then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying,' You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.'
19 "But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you and shall go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 As for this house, which was exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, 'Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?' 22 "And they will say, 'Because they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who brought them from the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them, therefore He has brought all this adversity on them.'" NASB
Verse 14 is often quoted, especially around election time. If “my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Our land is broken and sick. It is not sick because we are giving homosexuals the right to marry. It is not sick because violence is rampant in the land. Our nation is not sick because we have allowed our children to be raised by other children. Our nation is not sick because we allowed our leaders to take prayer out of schools. Our nation is sick, because God's people did not humble themselves and pray and seek God's face. These other things are symptoms of the real problem. Those of us who serve God have been halfhearted in our service to God and in our prayers.
Verse 2 and 3 of Hosea 8 says:
2 “They cry out to Me, 'My God, we of Israel know Thee!'
3 Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him.”
We claim to follow God, but have we given our all to serve the Master? We claim to know Him, but do we only give lip service to Him as Lord of our lives?
2 Chronicles 7:14 is a call for us to return to God with our whole hearts, not just a call to pray when we are in trouble. Hosea's message to the church today is to give up idols and begin seeking God to be our true king. Israel wanted a king and God gave them a king, but God was to choose the king. The king was to seek God's guidance as he led God's people.
Who chooses the leaders in our world today? Who is king in your church today?
Do you pray for God's guidance as you go to the polls to vote? Are you humbling yourself, seeking God's face, turning from sin when He convicts you? When you pray are you praying to meet your needs only, or are you praying as our Lord taught us to pray, Thy will be done.
Last Sunday evening we looked at a passage of Scripture that encouraged us to give up father, mother, brother, sister and farms to serve the Lord and promised that we would get them back in this world, would be given eternal life plus the added blessing of persecution. It is in Mark 10 if you want to look it up. Jesus was talking to his faithful disciples.
When you pray for God's will do you understand that He promises we will suffer for our stand for Him and that we will be persecuted if we follow Him? Are you still willing to pray that God's will would be done here on earth as it is in heaven?
As we seek to encourage people to accept the truth that God loves them and sent His Son to die for them, we often omit that truth. Jesus did not hesitate to explain to the rich young ruler that in order to have eternal life, he had to sell out and follow Him.
Serving God is not the easy comfortable life we sometimes make it out to be. When we serve God you can count on hardship and troubles. The advantage we have is that we are going through our difficulties with God. He is our companion on the road of life. The promise is that He will hear us and heal our land when we sell out to Him.
This is the meaning of humbling ourselves and praying. We come to the place that we know God as Lord not just of the Universe out there somewhere, but He is Lord of our lives and we will go with Him through the dark nights of the soul like Jesus suffered in the garden of Gethsemane. We choose to go to the lions den before we will give up our love and trust in God. We will go into the furnace before we will bow down to the idols that the kings of this world set before us.
Is it too late for us as a nation? Only God knows the answer to that question.
But the call is still out there for God's people to seek God with their whole hearts and trust Him to be with us through every difficulty He puts in our path.
It is time for the church, God's people, to seek Him as Savior, the easy part, and as Lord. That part is not so easy. We, God's people, must turn from our wicked ways. That is not any particular sin, but rather the sin behind all other sin; the sin of not walking in fellowship with God and humbling ourselves as His servants as we seek Him.
Who is your king? Have you set up idols in your life that God wants you to remove? Giving Him his rightful place as Lord is how we must pray as we look to the future of our congregation, our city, our state, our nation, and our world.
Who is the king of your heart; God who created you, or an idol you set up in His place?