“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord. They served… the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. Because the Israelites forsook the Lord and no longer served him, he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, who… for eighteen years… oppressed [them].” - Judges 10:6-8
Throughout the Old Testament the same warning is repeated: serve the Lord your God, and serve Him only. Israel was told again and again not to turn aside to false gods and idolatry. But only a few years after receiving the Promised Land, that is precisely what they did.
In painful irony, the nations whose gods Israel worshiped were the very people who oppressed them for eighteen years. Israel’s story illustrates a sobering truth: we are often oppressed by the very thing we idolize.
When we prioritize anything above God, we give that dream, hope, or item control over our lives. Idolatry is bondage. When we feel burdened, confused, and directionless, we should take note of our priorities. Are we worshiping God, or are we idolizing a job, a dream, or a relationship above Him? What we worship will be either our shackles or our freedom.
Lord, may you always be first in my heart.
Has anything or anyone taken God’s place of priority in your life?
What are you worshipping?
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