Dee Brestin in Idol Lies: Facing the Truth about Our Deepest Desires says:
The mighty wind is awakening God’s slumbering children to see what has kept them from transformation. The first step is to see the treacherous stones lurking beneath the deep waters of our souls-stones that have stymied our journey and cut us to pieces….So often we have failed to conquer a besetting sin because we have attacked the symptoms of our sin instead of its cause….Unless we as believers identify the root problem that leads to a multitude of surface sins, we are doomed to failure. Though our surface sins are many, they spring from a small number of heart idols….It is not enough to attack the near sin. The “god” producing that sin must be destroyed. But it is important for you to know that this is not an easy fix. The false god has many disguises, often appearing as something positive in your life. It takes time to see him and name him….I want to help you see the stone gods in your heart. Being released from the power of sin is gradual, for bondage has layers. Being satisfied with being delivered from the penalty of sin is to settle for the lesser life, for the occasional picnic in the desert. Seeking release from the power of sin means recognizing the idol lies that keep us from God and allowing the Stonecutter to replace them with Himself.[i]
We must allow God to awaken us out of spiritual slumber, and open our eyes to see every idol that is lurking in the deep waters of our hearts. We must smash these idols because we do not want to leave the door of our hearts open to the Devil, giving him a room as a welcomed guest. We must not allow our enemy to set up a command post in our hearts through any idol we have exalted above God. Anything that hinders us in building our lives completely around Christ must be ruthlessly removed. Idols allow the kingdom of darkness to harass, oppress, and control us. Christ has rescued us from the exercised power of darkness, but playing with idols is like walking right back into the dark forest of Satan’s kingdom. Idolatry is a spiritual grenade in your heart. You cannot walk blindly into the minefields of idolatry and think your actions are harmless. This is why the Bible tells Christians to flee from idolatry (I Corinthians 10:14). Run from it! Get away from it! Move our hearts far from it! Idolatry is the express purpose of every scheme, purpose, and attack from the Devil. If he can get you to sell your heart to an idol, then he has captured the one thing he lusts for the most, the human heart. He then has an open door to wreak havoc, and to steal, to kill and to destroy our lives, our faith, and our intimacy with God.
The Spirit Behind the Idol
There is a wicked spiritual power behind every idol, a strong spiritual force that pulls the heart like a powerful magnet into its snare. We must understand this important truth to see the spiritual danger of idolatry. When people worship idols, they are not simply worshipping the idol, but are worshipping the spirit behind the idol. Every idol has a spirit from the kingdom of darkness behind it that drives a person to love and worship it. An idol opens our heart to the enemy, and allows the spirit behind the idol to oppress our lives.
Even in ancient pagan cultures, the idol was believed to be the house where the god resided. The idol was the dwelling place for the god it represented, and a place where it lived and communicated with its worshippers. The Bible has a number of verses in both the Old and New Testament that indicate that one worships an idol, they are worshipping the demon spirit behind the idol (Deuteronomy 32:16-17; Leviticus 17:7: II Kings 17:6; Psalm 106:36-38; Psalm 96:5 (Septuagint); Acts 7:42; I Corinthians 10:14-22; Revelation 9:20).
The Spirit of Baal
One of the most prevalent spirits of idolatry in the Old Testament is the spirit of Baal. This spirit of Baal is still alive today, and is feverishly at work to turn the hearts of an entire generation away from God. There are more altars to Baal in people’s hearts than almost any time in the history of civilization. If we think the spirit of Baal is dead in our enlightened culture, we are severely mistaken. The spirit of Baal is the driving force behind the countless idols that plague the world, and is at the center of the widespread rebellion against God Almighty. The spirit of Baal moves freely on our college campuses; it is broadcast from our televisions, radios and computers; it lives in our political systems and moves in our courts and judicial systems; it reigns in the education systems of our children; it dominates the major religions around the world; its influence can be felt in our churches, and it often lurks behind the pulpits and the sermons of this age. It rules nations and destroys kingdoms. The spirit of Baal has permeated every level of our culture and has molded the hearts of many. The spirit of Baal is a spirit of unbelief and causes people to distrust God, deny His faithfulness and hate His promises. It causes people to revile and mock the God of the Bible. It cries out “God is not enough!” Where is your God?” “God has forsaken you!” “God is a fake!” “God is not who He claims to be!”
This essence of the Baal spirit is described in the record of Gideon in Judges 6. Gideon’s father Joash was a Baal worshipper, and Gideon grew up with an altar of Baal at the center of their household. The spirit of Baal had not only invaded his family, but the entire nation of Israel. The spirit of Baal plagued the heart of Gideon with unbelief in the God of Israel. The spirit of Baal had built a stronghold in Gideon’s heart. The angel of the Lord came to announce God’s calling for Gideon to deliver Israel from the Midianites and uttered these powerful words: “The Lord is with you O mighty man of valor.” However, in response, we see the strong influence of the spirit of Baal come pouring forth from Gideon’s heart.
Gideon responded, “Excuse me, sir! But if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracles our ancestors have told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and has handed us over to Midian.” (Judges 6:13, GW)
The spirit of Baal says: “Where is your God? Where is He when you need Him? Why are your prayers unanswered? Why are these things happening? Where is the evidence that God is at work? Where are the miracles? Don’t you see God doesn’t care? God has forsaken you! God has abandoned you! Your God is a failure!”
Gideon had forgotten the greatness of God as his eyes were blinded by the spirit of Baal. This powerful spirit had seized his heart as he cowered in fear, thinking God had deserted him. Gideon had to tear down the altar of Baal in his heart before he could have Hebrews 11 faith, and move forward as God’s mighty warrior against the Midianites.
Tearing Down the Altars of Baal
The spirit of Baal imprisons the heart with unbelief against God Almighty and His Word, and in essence calls God a liar. It calls into question God’s love, mercy, care and grace, and attempts to put a stain upon His character. The spirit of Baal is always a barrier to deliverance. Its voice must be silenced by an unwavering faith in God if the heart is to remain in top spiritual condition. We must never let the deadly poison of the spirit of Baal infiltrate our hearts causing us to doubt God’s faithfulness.
David Wilkerson in Tearing Down the Altars of Baal says:
Baal is still very much an idol today. And if our repentance is to be complete, we have to tear this idol down. Otherwise, it won’t matter how much we cry out to God, pray or fast. None of our actions will have any impact whatsoever, until we pull down the idol that has taken hold of so many hearts. You may ask, “So, what is this Baal? Where do I see it at work? How could an ancient false god be present in our modern society?” In the Old Testament, Baal was represented by a carved idol, made of wood, stone or metal….Even though this idol was only a dead piece of material, there was a powerful spirit behind it. This spirit is sent forth from hell for one purpose: to cause people to doubt the reality of God. It is a spirit of unbelief, plain and simple. And it assaults our minds with doubts about God’s faithfulness. It is absolutely dangerous to entertain this spirit. If it isn’t cast out immediately upon the first attack, it will infiltrate the mind. And once doubt and fear are allowed to enter, the Baal spirit takes possession of the soul. Left unchallenged, the Baal spirit of unbelief moves in and sets up an altar. Without question, unbelief is an idol. It bends you down in submission to its power. And it opens up your soul to all kinds of evil… Satan had accomplished his single, overriding mission: to implant in the minds of believers that God isn’t who the Bible says he is. The devil wants to convince you God isn’t all-knowing, all-powerful and all-caring. He’s constantly at work planting seeds of doubt in you. He causes you to think God doesn’t hear your prayers, that he doesn’t keep his promises to you. And he sends forth the Baal spirit to complete this work in you. You may think, “I don’t have any idolatry in my life. How can I tear down an altar to Baal?” Let me re-emphasize, Baal is a spirit of unbelief. You may have repented of sin, cried out to God for mercy, and heeded all prophetic warnings. But if you have doubts in your heart about God’s faithfulness to you, you’re subject to the Baal spirit. And God is telling you, “You must tear out that spirit of unbelief from your soul.”[ii]
The spirit of Baal is one of the most dangerous enemies of the heart. It has ruined countless lives and turned the hearts of millions away from the true God, leading them into spiritual, physical, and emotional darkness. It deceives people to abandon God and give the treasure of their hearts to worthless idols.
We would do well to heed the warning given in Hebrews 3:12: “Brothers and sisters, pay close attention so you won’t develop an evil and unbelieving heart that causes you to abandon the living God.” The purpose of the spirit of Baal is to build an evil and unbelieving heart. This is a favorite scheme of the enemy to send forth this spirit to harass God’s sons and daughters in an attempt to get them to doubt their God, weaken their faith, and plant seeds of uncertainty of the faithful character of God.
When will our eyes be opened to the eternal truth in Jonah 2:8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.” Let us never call into question God’s fathomless love, His everlasting mercy, His saving grace and His caring heart. Let us never doubt His power to deliver and the completeness of His salvation. Let these God-breathed words forever ring true in our hearts: “For God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down nor relax My hold on you! Assuredly not!” (Hebrews 13:5b, AMP).
Baal: The Counterfeit Yahweh
This spirit gained its power from the seductive ideas surrounding the false god Baal. To understand the spirit of Baal, and why it was worshipped so fervently, we must have some basic knowledge of this idol. There was great uncertainty of life in the ancient world, and human survival was often precarious, depending on the successful growing of crops and raising of livestock. Agriculture was such an important part of life, and the cycles of weather were critical ingredients to a good growing season and harvest. Baal was believed to be the giver of life, and entire nations were devoted to Baal because they believed he was the one who would sustain their farms, flocks and families. They believed Baal was in control of nature and people. They thought he controlled the rains and the weather, and gave fertility to women, blessing them with children. Baal became the key to the basic necessities of life. Baal was worshipped in Old Testament times as the god that was necessary for success in the everyday affairs of life. He was the great fertility god who would secure an abundant family life. He was the god who had power over rain, wind and clouds and would provide rich, fertile lands and plentiful harvests. He was the god of growth and productivity in all living things. He was god of nature who would control the seasons and cycles of life. He was the sun god who gave light, warmth and life to all creation. Baal was worshipped as the lord of the earth as his name literally means possessor, lord, owner, and master.
Baal was the counterfeit Yahweh that its worshippers claimed was the all-sufficient one meeting their daily needs. Baal was the counterfeit savior that people turned their hearts toward to preserve, sustain, feed and prosper them. Baal was a fertility cult that promoted an indulgence of fleshly lusts with sexual orgies with the temple prostitutes.
As Israel entered the land of promise, it was infested with Baal worship. It became a great temptation and thorn in Israel’s side throughout the Old Testament. The spirit of Baal dominated many, and ruined their trust and intimacy with God. It robbed them of the blessings of God in their social, family and spiritual life. The spirit of Baal ultimately brought about the destruction of Israel and Judah bringing them into captivity to Assyria and Babylon.
The Name of Yahweh: An Eternal Indictment Against All Idolatry
At the heart of every idol is doubt about the character of God. This is what the spirit of Baal feeds upon because the devil knows that unbelief leads to rampant idolatry. But God revealed in His name that we never have to doubt His love for us, and His desire to help us in all life’s difficulties. In this magnificent name Yahweh, God is telling us He is everything we will ever need. We will never have to turn to an idol for anything. The very name Yahweh and its meaning is an eternal indictment against all idolatry.
The voice of God declares in every generation “I am Yahweh, that is my name! I will not give my glory to another, nor my praise to graven images!” (Isaiah 42:8). The name of Yahweh is so glorious that every idol fades into oblivion in the brilliant light of His powerful name. No idol can offer one speck of what Yahweh gives to those who trust and love Him with all their hearts. The name of God, Yahweh, is used over 6800 times in Scripture and perfectly illustrates the character and nature of God.
Yahweh is a personal covenant name of promise to the children of God. Yahweh’s name is the pledge and unbreakable bond of faithfulness and commitment to His people. Yahweh means the Eternal, Immutable One. He who was, and is, and is to come. Yahweh is a form of the verb hayah and means to be or to become. Yahweh was, is and always will be alive, active and present.
Yahweh: He Is
First of all, the name Yahweh means “He is!” He is everything perfect, good, just and holy in an endless capacity. He has no beginning and no end. He is the everlasting God; the self-existent One, absolutely perfect and limitless in everything He is. A.W. Tozer in Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life says: “God is infinite. We mean by infinite that God knows no limits, no bounds and no end. What God is, He is without boundaries. All that God is, He is without bounds or limits….Only God has no degrees.”[iii] God’s love, strength, goodness, mercy, holiness, wisdom and grace are so immense and infinite that they cannot be weighed, counted or measured. These attributes are limitless in quality and perfection. They never diminish, change, or weaken.
Everything that God is, is for the benefit of His children. Yahweh is the name that represents a personal invitation to partake fully in everything He is, and to experience the fullness of God in all His manifold characteristics. Yahweh is the very essence and origin of all life. He is the Life-Giver. He is the Creator. He is the maker of every star, planet, and galaxy in the universe. There is no limit to what God can do in our lives.
The ancient cultures had thousands of gods for every occasion. But the name Yahweh declares that God is the only one you ever need in every circumstance and season of life. You can be completely satisfied in Him.
Jeremiah 32:17 proclaims that Yahweh made the heaven and earth by His great power “and nothing is too hard for Him!” When Sarah laughed at the impossibility of giving birth at the age of 90, God declared, “Is there anything too hard for Yahweh?” The Hebrew word for “hard” means marvelous, extraordinary, wonderful, surpassing, and beyond one’s power or ability. There is no mountain in life that Yahweh cannot move, there is no obstacle in life that Yahweh cannot overcome, and there is no need in life that Yahweh cannot abundantly provide. Yahweh is the solution, the answer, and the key to everything in life. Nothing is beyond Yahweh’s power. Nothing is above Yahweh’s understanding. Nothing is greater than Yahweh’s ability to act and bring about miraculous results. Nothing is ordinary or mundane about Yahweh! When Yahweh is called into action, it causes one to marvel at the wondrous and astonishing things He brings to pass. Praise God that Yahweh is!
Yahweh: The Coming and Becoming One
Secondly, Yahweh means “He who will be, the ‘Coming One’ or ‘Becoming One.’ We have the assurance that God never changes. What He is today, He will be tomorrow. He is the same glorious, perfect and limitless God yesterday, today and forever. Yahweh is the “Coming One”, always ready to come to the rescue and deliver His children from any enemy, problem, and oppression. He is ready to intercede with all His might when we call upon His name. He will come like lightening to fight all the battles of His beloved sons and daughters if we will only turn to Him.
Yahweh is also the “Becoming One.” God becomes whatever is lacking in our time of need. God is the “Coming One” ever ready to rescue and deliver His children from everything that holds them in bondage. He is always ready to abundantly provide for their needs and bring them into the land of His faithful promises.
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. (Exodus 3:14-15, ESV)
Yahweh as the “Becoming One” is the great “I Am” who says I am whatever you need at any point in your life. Yahweh wants us to remember that this is His very nature to be for us and meet our needs. Yahweh invites us to fill in the blank for our need. Do we need strength? Then He is our strength. Do we need healing? Then He is our healing. Do we need deliverance? Then He is our Savior. Do we need peace? Then He is our peace. Do we need provision? Then He is our provider? Do we need courage? Then He is our courage? Do we need assurance? Then He is our confidence? Do we need comfort? Then He is our comforter? Are we tired? Then He is our rest. Are we fearful? Then He is our refuge? Do we need love? Then He is our love. Are we depressed? Then He is our joy. Are we hungry? Then He is our Bread of Life. Are we in darkness? Then He is our light. Are we in bondage? Then He is our freedom.
Do we feel worthless and downcast? Then He is the lifter of our heads. Do we have fears, worries and anxieties? Then He is our burden-bearer. Do we need solutions to life’s problems? Do we feel the pressures of this life are crushing us under their weight? Then He takes the weight on His shoulders and becomes our Liberator. He is our solution and answer to ever single dilemma, circumstance and challenge we will ever face in this life. We do not need a thousand idols. We only need Him. He is the ever-flowing fountain of life and river of living waters that will sustain us all the days we draw breath on this earth.
The Psalmist declares that Yahweh is the only God he will ever need.
My soul wait thou ONLY upon God, for my expectation is from Him. He ONLY is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation, and my glory: the rock of my strength and my refuge is in God. (Psalm 62:1-2 KJB, Cambridge Edition)
Idolatry rises in the heart of a person when their expectation is in another other than God. Idolatry rises in the heart when we wait on another one for our salvation instead of God.
Hannah Whitall Smith in The God of all Comfort so wisely said:
The last and greatest lesson that the soul had to learn is the fact that God and God alone, is enough for its needs. This is the lesson that all His dealings with us are meant to teach; and this is the crowning discovery of our whole Christian life. God is enough![iv]
This is the great lesson to be learned that God is enough! This is the crowning discovery of the heart that God is enough! We never need to exalt or worship an idol.
Yahweh: The God Who Acts
Thirdly Yahweh means, “The God who acts!” He is the God who expresses Himself in action. He is never stagnant, asleep or on vacation, but is always active. The Bible declares in Jeremiah 9:24 that “Yahweh is the God who acts.”
The Hebrew language is all about action as “to be” is “to do!” In Hebrew something is defined by what it does, not by how it appears. Activity is the key to character not appearance. The verb “to be” means action that intimately reveals the character of the one doing the acting.
God is always actively present and His actions reveal His love and goodness. Yahweh does not sleep like the idols. Yahweh is always moving and His kingdom is advancing. The forward progression of God’s purposes is unstoppable. He is the Creator, the tireless God who is always working. His deeds never end, and always display His splendor in countless ways. Yahweh’s mighty acts distinguish him from every idol. Yahweh is the true God that does great and wondrous things daily; all His works are amazing and marvelous; His deeds are breathtaking in majesty and power.
In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, for You will answer me. There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours. For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God. (Psalm 86:7-8,10, NASB)
An idol is a god of inaction, who fails to act when we need it. Look at the showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in I Kings. The prophets of Baal cried out “O Baal answer us!” hour after hour. They danced around the altar and cut themselves in a frenzy until their blood gushed out. Yet no action, response, or mighty deed from the idol Baal, just silence. They had no answer, help or power in their hour of need.
Then Elijah called on the name of Yahweh and fire fell from heaven and consumed the altar, demonstrating that Yahweh is the God who acts. No idol can ever stand against the God of action or produce one billionth of the magnificent works of Yahweh. Yahweh is a warrior who fights for His people. Yahweh is our victory and He goes to battle for us. He is our shield, refuge and protection. With unfailing love Yahweh moves into action for His people.
Flourishing of Idolatry: Calling False gods Yahweh
Throughout the centuries people have been deceived into thinking that an idol can be their Yahweh. In their hearts they have passionately followed a counterfeit Yahweh, and have laid down their sacrifices of love, time, money and worship at its altar. This is clearly seen in the book of Genesis when men and women began to call their false gods Yahweh. Genesis 4:26 is often misunderstood to mean that people were calling on the name of Yahweh, but a deeper study of this verse reveals just the opposite. Idolatry was beginning to flourish in the human race and at the center of it was the desecration of the holy name of God, Yahweh.
A son was born to Seth also, and he named him Enosh (Enos). At that time people began to call on the name of Yahweh. (Genesis 4:26, HSCB)
E.W. Bullinger, the great biblical scholar, in the Companion Bible, says the last part of the verse should be more accurately translated “people began to call upon their gods by the name of Yahweh or began profanely to call upon the name of the Lord (Yahweh).”[v] The Hebrew word for “began” means to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, dishonor, and cast down. In just 235 years from the creation of Adam, the generation of Enosh began to profane and desecrate the name of Yahweh. They rejected Yahweh as the true God and defiled His holy name by calling their idols Yahweh.
This is the beginning of idolatry on such a scale that it boggles the mind. The ancient Jewish commentaries confirm this translation as the Targum of Jonathan translates this verse as follows: “And to Sheth also was born a son, and he called his name Enosh. That was the generation in whose days they began to err, and to make themselves idols, and surnamed their idols by the name of the Word of the Lord.”
The Sin of Enos
Rabbi Maimonides, in his Commentary on the Mishnah says:
In the days of Enos the sons of Adam erred with great error, and the counsel of the wise men of that age became brutish, and Enos himself was (one) of them that erred….And they began after this manner to make images in temples, and under trees, and on tops of mountains and hills, and assembled together and worshipped them….And this thing was spread through all the world, to serve images with services different one from another, and to sacrifice unto and worship them. So, in process of time, the glorious and fearful name (of God) was forgotten out of the mouth of all living, and out of their knowledge, and they acknowledged him not.[vi]
Sadly the grandson of Adam, Enos, was instrumental in causing people to forget the glorious name of Yahweh and all it represented. He was responsible for this great error of the heart that plagues all the peoples of the earth to this very day. Enos did not believe God was enough. Enos did not believe that God is everything He will ever need. Enos did not have confidence in Yahweh, and did not trust His character. He changed the glory of the incorruptible, eternal, perfect Yahweh into an image he could serve and worship. Enos encouraged his generation to make this monstrous substitution and foolishly began to call his idols Yahweh. Idolatry spread like wildfire throughout the world, and it all began with the profanation of the name of Yahweh.
The Aman of Abraham: His Unwavering Faith in Yahweh
Abraham presents a vivid contrast to Enos concerning the name of Yahweh. Abraham is called “the father of all them that believe” in Romans 4:11, and even though he came out of a family and culture of idolatry, he crushed the power of idolatry in his heart by a firm, steadfast faith in Yahweh alone, that never wavered. The first usage of the word “believe” in the entire Bible concerns the faith of Abraham in the name of Yahweh.
And Abram believed the Lord (Yahweh), and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. (Genesis 15:6, NLT)
The Hebrew word “believed” is aman and means trustworthy, faithful, stable, certain and dependable. It is to lean on, trust and confide in. It is to consider as true, and to stand firm in unwavering confidence. It is something that is firmly established, steadfast and reliable because it is utterly faithful. It is certainty that cannot be shaken or disturbed.
There are derivative words of aman that have the meaning of support and reliability like pillars, doorposts, nurses, guardians, master craftsmen and trustees. It is like a nursing baby who would find stability, support and comfort in the bosom of a loving parent. The Hebrew word “truth” even comes from this word aman.
Abraham believed he could lean on Yahweh as completely trustworthy and dependable. Not one ounce of unbelief concerning Yahweh’s faithfulness ever penetrated his heart. Yahweh was the firm pillar of support and the master craftsmen of his life. He rested like a newborn infant in the bosom of Yahweh. His confidence was in Yahweh only as his steadfast rock in all the circumstances of life. He stood firm as a shining example to all generations that Yahweh is the only faithful one to give our hearts to. He knew Yahweh was everything he would ever need. He believed and obeyed the words of Yahweh and counted them as absolutely true and reliable. With unshakable faith he refused to allow any doubt or fear to seize his mind that God would not fulfil His promises. He knew Yahweh would never fail him. He knew Yahweh would never forsake him. He knew Yahweh would never abandon him. He knew after living seventy-five years in the midst of idolatry that no idol was worthy of his trust. No idol was worthy of his faith. No idol was worthy of his heart.
Abraham was rare in his generation as a man who firmly trusted in Yahweh and did not allow his heart to be turned after idols.
Who Lives in Awe of Yahweh Anymore?
The Psalmist found the dilemma that no one believed (aman) Yahweh anymore, and those who trusted in His faithfulness seemed to have vanished from the human race.
Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore; those who are loyal (aman) have vanished from the human race. Who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race. (Psalm 12:1, 8, NIV)
The distinguishing mark of generation after generation in this world is the total lack of faith and confidence in God. Hardly anyone loves, serves and worships God with unwavering devotion and adoration. We have no respect for God. We do not fear the Lord. Our eyes do not see and our ears do not hear the majesty of God Almighty, the Creator of every living thing. We abandon God time and time again for worthless idols and our hearts fall into darkness, utterly blind to His blessings.
The prophet Jeremiah made a bold announcement to Israel and Judah about the rebellious hearts of God’s own chosen people. He said that even if you ran up and down every street in Jerusalem, and searched high and low throughout the city, you could not find one just person who loves and follows Yahweh with all his heart.
“Make this announcement to Israel, and say this to Judah: Listen, you foolish and senseless people, with eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear. Have you no respect for me? Why don’t you tremble in my presence? I, the Lord (Yahweh), define the ocean’s sandy shoreline as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross. The waves may toss and roar, but they can never pass the boundaries I set. But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned away and abandoned me. They do not say from the heart, ‘Let us live in awe of the Lord (Yahweh) our God, for he gives us rain each spring and fall, assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’ Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings. Your sin has robbed you of all these good things. (Jeremiah 5:20-25, NLT)
How the hearts of people turn away from God and abandon Him! Oh how few there are that live daily in the awe of Yahweh! We have been robbed of God’s wonderful blessings because we have allowed our hearts to be turned.
[i] Dee Brestin, Idol Lies: Facing the Truth about Our Deepest Desires (Brentwood: Worthy Publishers 2012), 18.
[ii] David Wilkerson, Tearing Down the Altars of Baal, Sermon delivered October 21, 2002.
[iii] A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God: Their Meaning in the Christian Life (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1961), 766, Kindle Edition.
[iv] Hannah Whitall Smith, The God of All Comfort (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1953)
[v] E. W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publishing, 1990), Appendix 21.
[vi] Rabbi Moses Maimonides, Commentary on the Mishnah, Composed during the years 1145-1168.
Excerpt from Tim Rowe’s book “The Heart: the Key to Everything in the Christian Life” https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Key-Everything-Christian-Life/dp/1483447928/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483371363&sr=8-1&keywords=the+heart+the+key+to+everything