Posted by: bellissimanh | January 26, 2009

Memory Monday – American Idol

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Once again, I’m amazed at how the Lord puts pieces together and lines up the things that He has me studying to help the concept really sink in.

In this week’s worship service, Tim brought a message from Exodus 20:1-6. The main thrust of the sermon was this: God is a jealous God, and we are to have no gods besides Him.  It was a wonderful message with many applications. Suffice it to say, the Lord has me examining my heart this week.

One of the things Tim shared with us from the ISBE was that “in the New Testament idolatry came to mean, not only the giving to any creature or human creation the honor or devotion which belonged to God alone, but the giving to any human desire a precedence over God’s will.”

Ummmmmm…. OUCH? Does that strike a chord with any of you the way it did with me? It’s one thing to say lightly that of course we have no idols… I don’t even put my desire for money and materialistic things before the Lord. But how often have I put my own desires above His? How often have I felt Him leading me in one direction and yet I strained against His gentle guidance, wanting my own way?

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Col. 3:5)

Hmmm… covetousness. Been there. Recently, as a matter of fact! And honestly, any desire that competes with what the Lord wants for me is evil. It’s idolatry. Plain and simple.

I think it’s interesting that the Hebrew word for “idol” is “aven” and it has among it’s meanings “nothingness” and “vanity.” Isn’t that really what all of our idols come to?

No, I may not be guilty of serving the idol of money, but what about the idol of self?

Here’s a connection. Check out one of the verses that I’ve been meditating on this week:

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things and revive me in Your way.” (Psalm 119:37)

My Sunday School class has been digging in Malachi the past few weeks. The verse we focused on is Malachi 3:18:

“Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”

Yesterday we talked about what it means to be righteous. How does one come to be named among the righteous? We decided that given the context (a description of the “Book of Remembrance” right before and a description of the Sun of Righteousness immediately following), righteousness here is not referring to my obedience, but rather to my election into the family of God made possible only through the blood of Christ. To quote Casting Crowns, “Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done… not because of what I’ve done, but because of Who You are” – and how thankful I am for THAT!

Here’s the second connection…. another of my verses for this week was:

“Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me in Your righteousness.” (Psalm 119:40)

It all comes down to his Word. As my desire increases to move closer to His Word, there will be a corresponding negative desire to move away from worthless things… particularly, idols. The more I dig into the Word of God, the more I crave it.  I love how Matthew Henry puts it: “Tastes of the sweetness of God’s precepts will but set us a longing after a more intimate acquaintance with them.” And where there is a desire to learn and live by the Word, the Lord will bless that in His righteousness. I don’t have to get it perfect, because it’s His righteousness that revives me… that sustains me. He sees my heart. He knows the desire to seek and follow His will… and so He is faithful to equip me to that end. I love that!

Ok… so here is my passage, from the fifth stanza…

“Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding and I shall keep Your law. Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness.”

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way. Establish Your Word to Your servant who is devoted to fearing Your name. Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Your judgments are good. Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness.”

(Psalm 119:33-40)

And for next week:

“Let Your mercies also come to me, O LORD — Your salvation according to Your Word. So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your Word. And take not the Word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I have hoped in Your ordinances. So shall I keep Your law continually, forever and ever.” (Psalm 119:41-44)

What are you memorizing? How is the Lord using it to encourage you? Convict you? Strengthen you?

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Responses

  1. You’re doing great Heather!!! Keep it up! Thanks for the thoughts about idolatry…

    I’ll start at chapter 2 this week b/c of length!! 😉

    II Timothy 2

    You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

    The things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit to faithful men that they may be able to teach others also.

    Therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

    For no man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this world, that he may please him who has chosen him to be a soldier.

    And if a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned except he strive lawfully.

    And the husbandman that labors must be first partaker of the fruit.

    Consider what I say to you and the Lord give you understanding in all things.

    Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.

    wherein I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even unto bonds, but the word of God is not bound.

    Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

  2. Heather,

    That was a great post. I am doing No Other Gods: Confronting Your Modern Day Idols and boy am I ever being confronted. It is a wonderful study that really gets to the heart of our heart.

    Thanks for reminding me of the need to stay true and focused on Christ.

    Leah

  3. “And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90:17)

    and

    “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep [me] from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.” (1 Chronicles 4:10)

    These passages are part of my daily reading. However, God has placed upon my heart to meditate and study on “Training in Righteousness.”

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) as the key scriptures: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    This a great post. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  4. You’ll be happy to know that I have been getting in some Bible time each night before I go to sleep, after all the babies are in bed:) Thanks for prayin for me!

    Keep up the great scripture memory! I love hearing what the Lord is dealing with you on:)


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