The Monthly Bread Archives
1 King 14:24 And
there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of
the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. (KJV)
As we read this verse of scripture, there arises a question in our minds of why the idolatry of the past is still present in Israel. When the Lord heals a sin problem, there isn't any reason for it to revive and come back to haunt His people. Although the power of the Lord was the delivering factor that previously cast out idols "before Israel" as an example, it is by the strength of man that these abominations of the nations are deliberately entered into and practiced once again.
In mentioning "sodomites," we know from scripture it refers to homosexuality. The important lesson learned here however, is not about the sodomite, but the oversight of Israel to lose the glory of God in their midst.
As time went on, a progression from 1 Kings to 2 Kings took place to the degree that idolatry in the land increased and even took up residence in the house of the Lord. As hard as this may be to comprehend, I think the one thing evident is that idol worship can become overwhelming in its influence when man rejects God.
2 King 23:7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites,.. (KJV)
7 .. which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah. (NIV)
In Gen 1:27-28, the principal of growth from its very inception was that God gave his blessing to "be fruitful and multiply" to those created in his image, the righteous. However, living under the curse has its yield also (Gal 6:8). The corrupting leaven by nature, continues to work its way through the whole lump, if allowed to flourish. Winston Churchill once said, "All it takes for evil to prosper, is for good men to do nothing", but a prelude to this might be to say, "All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to stop seeking the Lord."
Ask yourself this: Is homosexuality in the church today? There are denominations at this very hour seeking to legitimize it. You see, if whatever the world is selling is allowed in God's house, it will bring in every evil influence and haunt of the unclean with it. The end result is a leaven of tolerance that is instrumental in causing the departure of God from His own temple, since He will have no idols before Him.
It is wise to say that wherever there is a vacancy of God's presence, the enemy will seek to move in (Matt 12:44-45) and inhabit. The real message here, as I said earlier, is not the shame of the sodomites in the house but the shame of the church to reject and lose its foundation of the manifest glory and presence of God. If the Lord is present with us, it is virtually impossible for sin to survive.
Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: "Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?"
15 He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, ...
God has a refining fire He sends to our life to rid us of sin and make us more like Him. In this holy fire, he desires to birth forth the character of His son, Jesus Christ, as spiritual gold (Rev 3:18). But Isaiah says, "who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?" Certainly not the sinners in Zion! They are aware of the incompatibility and are terrified. Isaiah answers his own question by saying that "He who walks righteously ... ("can dwell with the consuming fire"), and that is because the war against sin is over for the righteous man. The debt has been paid by Christ and we have made peace with God through the cross.
Knowing this, our dealing with idols should have a different approach altogether. Should we really be caught up in the fervor of protesting and marching like the world? A Million Man March, a Million Woman March, a Christian Man March, what is the difference? The list goes on and on. Our real priorities need not be tied up in flesh and blood fights against evil since our true strength lies in meeting God for our victory strategy.
John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (KJV)
Great is the need of God's abiding presence in the church today. In dark times, this can only take place as man learns to love God through the obedience of His word. Nothing can change that. And there is no mistake about it. God will manifest Himself to the believer who pleases Him. No doubt, God by His mercy loves the sinner in rebellion, but in the final analysis of things, Jesus makes it clear in John 14:23 that it is on the basis of close relationship that His Father loves those who love His son. The Father and Son are one and both are willing to come and make their abode (manifest) with the person who keeps the word (loving truth) of His son. But to keep truth is to love truth.
Under the law, one can obey truth out of duty, but what God is after has to do with whole-hearted desire in following personal revelation. It is easier for one to receive truth that relates to the life of another than personal truth relating to ourselves. Loving truth will mean a commitment to face what God reveals about our own heart.
2 Thes 2:10 .. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (NIV)
The apostle Paul was an idol slayer who had a habit of causing a stir when he came to town. His method was never to be religious or political, but to come in the demonstration of God's power (the miraculous). The problem that usually occurs however, is that the anointing of God is not always welcome among the idolaters and for good reason. The anointing brings challenge and sacrifice to the lifestyle of people. It will crucify the traditions of the religious and superstitious. The anointing comes in the true power of healing to break the yoke of bondage that holds so many lives in slavery.
Acts 16:16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.
17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved."
18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her.
The slave girl that Paul contended with had a popular profession in her city. She had a good business making money for herself and cohort owners. But as a fortune-teller, she had a spirit (anointing of satan) and it was not of God. There are those who practice sorcery today who justify it by saying they have a gift from God but the truth is, this passage of scripture says different. Strangely enough, the slave girl was telling the truth about Paul and Silas when she said, they were "servants of the most high God, who are telling you the way to be saved." She had the right truth, but the wrong spirit. This is something most people don't consider even today about ministry. God is not just concerned about getting the job done, but how it is done. And God is particular about who testifies about Him. He has no desire for devils to serve Him in the ministry.
Luke 4:41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the
The presence of Christ (the anointed one) caused such a stir in the kingdom of darkness that demons immediately recognized His identity even before men did and came out of people, shouting. Jesus however, did not allow the unclean permission to proclaim His righteous name.
Such was the case of Paul and Silas who came into town causing problems for idolaters. It wasn't long until they were brought up on charges for doing God's work of changing lives. The "uproar" in the city was over Paul's divine influence to deliver the slave girl from the power of darkness.
Acts 16:19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.
20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar .."
When is the last time you caused a stir among demons or an uproar in your city because you carried the glory of God with you. Steven's face had shone like an angel with the manifest glory and his persecutors hated him the more so as to stone him.
Recently, I attended an ordination at a church where there was a potential uprising for a congregational split. The pastor who was the subject of the division preached so wholeheartedly with mighty unction and fervor that I thought surely this will convince the gainsayers that God is with this man. Low and behold, I was wrong! Later reports revealed that the service only made disgruntled parishioners angrier and if anything reinforced their opposition.
How is it I thought, could the shining forth of God's manifest glory upon the Pastor's message be met with such hateful disdain? Elementary, my dear Watson... The pastor had been a part to idol slaying and the initial reaction of people was to cover up in darkness. God's glory will undoubtedly uproot and cast out idolatry, but not without a stir and uproar.
On another occasion, Paul had conflict with a town idol maker named Demetrius because his influence of leading large numbers of people away from their worship of idols, affected the income of the entire town. The bible says Paul caused "a great disturbance about the way". This disturbance I believe was "about the way" God's manner was to move upon the ministry of His disciples in glory. The place where this disturbance occured was in the heart of men.
Act 19:23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen.
25 He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business.
26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all.
27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty." (NIV)
When idols begin to lose followers and remaining idolaters feel the need to defend their false gods, you know there is manifested glory in the ministry. You can be sure there is power to break the stronghold of the enemy. Demetrius the silversmith feared losing business because the tide was turning. He no longer had a monopoly on the idol business because the idol slayer had come to town.
Mark 5:9 Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many."
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.
12 The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them."
Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!"
31 And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. (NIV)
Why did the demons beg to go into the pigs? It was because they feared the torment of hell but also the glory of God. This legion of demons did not want to go back where they came from but neither did they want to hang around Jesus. People have sometimes remarked today in a coy manner that they would rather party in hell with friends than spend eternity with God. But quite honestly, if the demons feared to be sent back to the abyss should not man? More importantly, these demons acknowledged Jesus had the power and authority to send them there.
Mark 5:13 He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
I do not believe God is in the habit of granting satanic requests but I think there is a purpose of God involved here. The Lord is looking to reveal the hearts of the herdsmen and townspeople. The legion (consisting of 3,000 to 6,000) of demons in this man went out into the pigs as an alternative, yet the false hope of the wicked soon went down the drain as the pigs drowned. To those who witnessed this event and received the report, Jesus was a bad business risk. Their first association with the deliverance of God cost them dearly (2,000 pigs) and their reaction was fear. Their idol was the almighty dollar and they were more willing to embrace evil than to submit to the idol slayer. When they ask Jesus to leave, their hearts are revealed, they don't want the glory of God among them.
Mark 5:14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.
15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man-- and told about the pigs as well.
17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
To build an altar to God that pleases him, we must first endeavor to tear down the old altars of idols, even if it offends the traditions of our fathers.
Jud 6:25 That same night the LORD said to him, "Take the second bull from your father's herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.
26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole
that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering."
What price are we willing to pay to do what is right in the sight of the Lord? Gideon was afraid of persecution so he obeyed the Lord secretly and did not slay the idol openly before men.
Jud 6:27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
Gideon's father, Joash, uses wisdom in challenging the power of the idol Baal. A true God does not need people to save Him -- the true God saves people. The idol of wood has no head to think and give direction, nor does it have hands to help its subjects. The very fact that a God needs help from man is proof that it is powerless.
Jud 6:31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, "Are you going to plead Baal's cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar." (NIV)
Gideon never was judged for tearing down the altars of Baal. He only prospered continually from that day forward because he had obeyed the Lord to slay the idols and build the proper altar to God almighty.