The Greatest Influence
21 Days of Hunger - Day 9
I love the Lord, I love my wife, and I love my children... (in that order...hopefully). When I was younger, I remember learning about idolatry in Sunday School. I thought it was interesting that people would worship a statue. A statue? It doesn’t move. It doesn’t speak. Why would these ancient people worship a statue? For the next few weeks, my teacher did a study on what idolatry would look like in our present day. By the end of the study, the driving point of my Sunday School teacher was: Anything you worship, other than God, is idolatry. Worship? Hmmm...I was a little confused. You see, up until that point, worship was something I did in Junior Church or “Big People” Church in the beginning of the service. It usually lasted about 15 minutes, and then we would continue with the rest of the service. That’s the only time I worshipped. Well, with this in mind, I was confident that I would never commit idolatry. When people would say, “Television is your idol.” I would say, “How? I don’t sing to my television. I don’t pray and bow down to my television.” I didn’t realize it then, but now, I am fully aware that idolatry is giving someone or something the position to have a greater influence in your life...other than the Lord.
In the tenth chapter of the book of Judges, the children of Israel begin to cry out to God because of the oppression of the Philistines and the Ammonites. In verse 6, we learn that the children of Israel were participating in the worship ceremonies and rituals of Baal and Ashtaroth, which were the famous gods of the Canaanites. This behavior and lifestyle was in direct contradiction to the way of life as prescribed in the Law of Moses, and so, the children of Israel, “...forsook the LORD and did not serve Him.” Their desire for the benefits of worshipping Baal and Ashtaroth had a greater influence than the benefits of worshiping the LORD.
As a result, the children of Israel experienced 18 years of oppression by the hands of the Philistines and Ammonites. After dealing with all of the pain and suffering, the children of Israel cried out to the Lord in confession. Listen to how the LORD responded: “The LORD said to the sons of Israel, ‘Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines? Also, when the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I delivered you from their hands. Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore, I will no longer deliver you. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress.’” (Judges 10:11-14)
During this season of fasting and prayer, I would like to encourage you to identify the greatest influence in your life. If there is something that influences you more than the Word of God, then chances are, that person or thing is an idol. Does money have a greater influence in your life than the Lord? Perhaps your family, children, or circle of friends pose a greater influence in your life than the Lord. Who knows, maybe it is a political affiliation, a social movement, or maybe your own personal freedom that is influencing you more than God’s presence. Ultimately, your lifestyle will reflect your greatest influence, and it will expose the object of your worship.
Psalm 20:7 – “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
Remember, whoever or whatever you worship, bears the responsibility of delivering you in the time of your distress.