Are We Serving Lesser gods?

It amazed at how current the Bible is.  Its ancient tongue rings as true today as it did back then.  Only a little substitution of the names of ancient cities with present day ones, a switching of “thy” & “thou” for “you” and “your”, and the Bible begins to read like a testimony of today.

2 Kings 17:24-41 (sadly) is a perfect retelling (or foretelling) of what modern Christianity looks like.  The Israelites have allowed the leaven of the Gentiles to infiltrate their hearts toward God.  The verses before tell how they’ve gone after the ways of Jeroboam, the evil king who led them in heinous sinful practices.  Because they haven’t listen to God’s voice, they are forced to experience His judgment…they’re exiled in great numbers into the land of Assyria.

Samaria is now practically desolate.  The King of Assyria has to repopulate with peoples from Babylon, Cuth, Hamath, & Sepharvaim.  Now marks the beginning of their Samaritan nationality.  They don’t know the God of the land.  They come in with their own gods & worship rituals/traditions and because the Most High God isn’t pleased with this, He sends in lions to devour many of the people.

Either through discernment given directly to the people, or by word from the remaining children of Israel, they learn that the lions are attacking because of their idolatrous practices.  They send word to the King to send a priest to come teach them the ways of the God of the land.

The Scripture reads in Verse 28: Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the Lord. Verse 33: They feared the Lord and served their own gods after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from.

It’s the same way for us really…Believers, I mean.  We come directly from a habitual nation of serving other gods into the Kingdom of God when we accept Christ as our Savior.  And voila!  We’re new residents, new creatures in Christ.  Our spirits are instantly made new, but what about our minds?  Our habits?  Even the company we keep?  We generally get saved alone so what happens when we leave the old land for the new land still in the presence of the old people?

We may submit to a pastor, teacher, or Holy Spirit led individual study.  Hopefully, we’re in a good pasture and, like the repopulated Samaritans, are taught how we should fear the Lord.  Taught about His Word, His ways, and His wisdom.  Enlightened of the practices God finds pleasing.

But what about those ‘other gods’ we hold onto?  Known or unknown to us, God says they’re there.  I wouldn’t have gone so far as to call emotions like bitterness, unforgiveness, and fear gods…but in Verse 30, the god Ashima made by the people of Hamath is translated in the Hebrew language as ‘guiltiness’.  Isn’t that an emotion?

What about how we have a tendency to serve others as god in our lives?  That may be hard to accept but we were Made to serve, and so we do.  Before we came to God in Christ, we were serving something…and so often that something was someone.  When we let the needs, emotions, desires, and/or opinions of a parent, spouse, sibling, boss, friend, colleague, child, or anybody else lead our way, box us in, we serve them as a god.

The people of Cuth made a god called Nergal.  The translation of Nergal is heros.  And, oh, what a mighty little ‘g’ god this remains to be today.  The dictionary on my MAC computer says that hero/heroine is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.  In typing the word “heroine” I thought of the word ‘heroin’…..so addicted we are to heros.  Celebrities, and public figures, and political figures, and….well the list goes on.  We jump from one bandwagon to the next, from one ‘it’ person to the next.  Attention is worship.  So careful we must be.

And then there’s the gods of our senses, of our bodies and desires.  Sex, drugs, food, attention, how we project to others or how we are seen.  The latter two may not seem to go with the former three but they, and others of this sort, do.  There’s an element of personal control & manipulation to these.  They’re often manifested as the fruit of a rebellious spirit because here, the individual isn’t ‘controlled’ so much as it may feel to them… they feel as if they’re making their own decisions to ‘have’ and to ‘be’.  This isn’t the case though.  The rebellion itself becomes the one in control until the person eventually finds themselves unable to stop.  Emotional addictions/dysfunctions are always the preceding step to physical ones.

Anyway, I was so struck by the text in 2 Kings 17:24-41 because it’s so indicative of what’s going on today in the Body of Christ.  Verse 41 reads: So these nations feared the Lord, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.  

And so do we….  We get just enough of God to stop the lion of hell from dragging us down to the pit. Then we go right on mixing our fear of God with our continued worship of prior habits and traditions.  But Jesus commanded us to love the Lord our God with ALL our heart, mind, and soul.  There isn’t any room for other gods when God has ALL our hearts.

And what a difficult commandment to keep!  We have so many past experiences, so many heart issues, aches, and pains we came into the New Land of Belief in Christ carrying in our hearts, minds, and on our backs.  How do we put them down?  How do we possibly put these gods out of our mental/emotional temples?

Well, we have something the people of this text didn’t: Jesus Christ, Who prays on our behalf, interceding always.  He taught us we’re forgiven by God for our sins.  Even those we commit RIGHT NOW are covered…separated from us as far from us as the east is from the west.

But there’s a work we have to do.  And it’s as simple as asking Him to reveal the places in our hearts and lives where the lesser gods still reign.  Being willing to be real before our God about it all.  No shame.  No guilt: no more serving Ashima, the people of Hamath’s god.  We are safe to confess to God the ugliness of our past & of our existence.  We’re empowered to reject the lies religion has told us that God is gonna get us, strike us down, turn His back on us in disgust…

He won’t.  He can’t.  It’s not His Nature…  He loves us.  He loves you…perfectly, wholly, in Divine righteousness.

We are set free, made whole in the spirit by the Spirit of our Holy God.  Let’s let it be so…  Let’s let it all go, all for Him…all but Him, in Jesus Name, Amen.

 

 

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About Alaina Odessa Expressions

Alaina Odessa is a Christian poet and author of Slow Running Honey, an anointed book of poetry that speaks to the secrets, self deception, and lack of self awareness that is holding many of God's people back from the abundance He created them for. She is creator of Alaina Odessa Expressions, a company dedicated to helping others 'Cultivate the God made self' through poetry, theatre, workshops, lectures, & television. Godly information fosters the mind renewal process all Christians must undertake to experience the fullness of Christ's sacrifice. Alaina Odessa Expressions strives to provide edifying, life changing content.
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5 Responses to Are We Serving Lesser gods?

  1. Otto Harris says:

    Oh, this is powerful medicine. How healed will we be if we followed the prescription?
    Some of us know we have lesser gods, things that keep us from totally entering into the presence and relationship with the Most High God. But many of us don’t let go of our lesser gods because we don’t know that we are serving them. Unlike the 2 Kings 17 crowd, we don’t fashion wooden or golden idols, attend to them, and look to them to meet our needs (like keeping the lions away or keeping the bill collectors away). But there are some things that have crept up and may have been around a mighty long time that we attend to and look to to meet our needs, dumb, lifeless things that can’t keep itself. But it’s familiar and it’s comfortable. So we go into God’s presence clutching on to our lesser God’s. And God is not pleased.

    So, how do I recognize for myself when these lesser gods are still in the land distracting us from worshipping in spirit and truth (‘Cause you know it’s so easy for me to recognize yours and tell you and everybody else in creation how YOU are serving lesser gods).

    • Whoaaaaaaaa, Pastor…. That’s a whole ‘nother Blog post. Thanks for posing such an awesome question, I’ll get back with you on this in a couple of days. Working on some dressing and collard greens right about now…LOL!!! Blessings & Strength and an awesome Thanksgiving with family and friends.

    • Great comment, Pastor Harris. Thank you for taking the time to make it. I wish the enemy hadn’t seduced today’s Christian away from the actual hand made fashioning of the gods we serve. But then what’s the point? Though our ancient brethren made their gods and placed them in the groves and high places for worship, they couldn’t ‘see’ themselves in their idolatry anymore than we do. We read about the children of Israel and can so readily judge them as spiritual harlots. Aaron was still wet with the memory of how God had brought them out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. Still wet, at least, but yet still weak himself from the spiritual oppression of Pharoah, he lacked the strength to lead that Israelite mob in the ways of righteousness.

      Are we really that blind? And to be real about it, I shouldn’t just jump to the spiritual blindness without addressing the source of the blindness in the first place, the teachings & effects of oppression…

      I want to say so much, but I’ll just say this: there’s not a one of us who hasn’t come to God from Egypt which stands as type for the sinful world we live in today. The world Christ said we were to be in but not of. And therein lies the work, not just coming out of Egypt, but exorcising Egypt out of us. How do we discover these worldly ways in ourselves when they’re all we know? When their familiarity has become our source of comfort?

      We have to be willing to do that hard hard thing of worshipping God in truth. Being willing to really humble ourselves trusting that He is able to make good on His claim to be our Loving, Forgiving, All Powerful, All Knowing, & All Present Father. We have to come to a place of truth where we tell God all those things about ourselves we’re terrified people will find out about. When we tell Him our secrets, He gladly tells us His. I may not be consciously aware that I serve the god of Nergal, but I know when I lie. I may not possess the self awareness to understand how I serve the god of sex, but I know when I have sex…I can tell God about that…confess it to Him asking for forgiveness and understanding about why I do whatever it is I do. That type of fellowship opens the door to intimacy with God. He speaks…He knows…He begins to reveal those hidden dimensions of ourselves to ourselves.

      I’m talking about being willing to let go of the comfort and the familiar in faith that God’s glory is richer, deeper, lasting than whatever counterfeit prop we have in Its place. There’s a little book written in parable form called the Dream Giver (Bruce Wilkinson). I love that book. The character called Ordinary experiences the most beautiful (sometimes scary) series of events in pursuit of a God given dream for one reason and one reason alone. He was willing to step out in faith and begin.

      We so often think the faith fanatics are these wild and crazy people who up and leave for unknown lands, and though that does happen sometimes (the unknown lands, that is…not the wild and crazy:-) the New Testament Promised Land isn’t a place like the Old Testament one was…. It’s a mindset. And when we make up our minds that we’re going to allow God to lead us by His Word howsoever He will, trusting that His will for us is perfect, that no matter what it ever tends to look like, we’re going to stay the course steadfastly refusing to faint, we’re automatic owners of a parcel of the Promised Land. Yes, our lot increases as our knowledge and experiences increase, but there’s an equal plot of New Testament Promised Land available to every Believer…it’s called a seed of faith.

      We begin the work of exorcising those lesser gods that hold positions of stronghold in our lives as we trust that God is faithful to know more about both them and us than we do. And it’s heartbreaking as we meet ourselves on the path of working out our salvation. I know it is for me. Even now, I ache about a new revelation of spiritual idolatry the Lord is so lovingly pointing out to me. Won’t I ever be done? I want to ask… Won’t I ever be THERE….that place of perfect spiritual health and purity I so desperately want to be?

      The answer I hear is,”It doesn’t really matter…My sins are forgiven. They’re covered. My God loves me. When He looks at me He’s chosen to see me through the Blood of Jesus. In His imputed righteousness, in the perfect spiritual health and purity of our Risen Savior.” So then God has set this thing up for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth, not for Himself, but for our sakes. He’s commanded we come to Him because He knows He’s the only hope we have of being cured of the effects of oppression’s deceit and destruction. He’s commanded us to worship Him this way because He’s holy, and He certainly has the right to create protocol for how He wants to be addressed.

      Anyway, we’ve got so much Egypt to get rid of: so much fear, and pride, and prejudice, and guilt, and shame because we’ve got so much of God’s glory to have, to hold, to know, and to be. The things of the natural are of the things of the spirit…no space can be dually occupied.

      We recognize the lesser gods are still in the land (heart) because the Bible tells us so… So we pray to God to humble us, that we never claim to be above the Word of Truth God has given us all for instruction. When we do this, we’re well on our way to submitting to the only process, the love & correction of the One True God, Who trades our lesser for His Higher. The lesser gods must go so our Mighty God can reign.

  2. Kim Burgess says:

    Praise God,,,I love this blog,this is awesome and so real.Thanks for the wisdom and the prayers to pray by asking to reveal to us any other gods that we may be putting in front of him. I love the scripture you gave in Kings, concerning it being passed down from generation to generation, but we must take a stand to stop it with the Lords help, and I like how you taught us how to do it….

    • I thank God for you Kim<3 You are such a sincere encourager….that is one of your many gifts. Yes….there is so much to having our minds renewed. I pray God cleanses us all from the lesser gods… They are subtle and they are many so I can't think of a better way to live this life than being cleansed by Him (smile). Thanks for sharing…..

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