Israel Again Did Evil in the Sight of the Lord
KLMX Ministerial Alliance
1st Baptist Church, Des Moines, NM
I’m Bryan Kimsey from First Baptist Church in Des Moines NM and this week on the Ministerial Alliance program we’re looking at false gods and idols. Yesterday I brought up the 1st Commandment, which says:
Exodus 20:1-6 And God spoke all these words, saying: (2) "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (3) "You shall have no other gods before Me. (4) "You shall not make for yourself a carved image any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; (5) you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, (6) but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
We looked at God’s righteousness in making this statement. Today, we’re going to examine two Old Testament accounts of the utter inability of mankind to follow this simple command. May God grant me the words to speak, you the ears to hear, and may this message glorify His Holy name through His son Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, our Advocate, and our Propitiation. Amen.
The first example we’ll look at comes from the book of Judges. At this point in the history of Israel, the people are in the Promised Land and Joshua, the one who as led them there, is dead. Judah is leading Israel and in Chapter 1 we immediately see that Israel has failed to drive out all of the inhabitants of the land, as God commanded them to do in Deuteronomy 7. This is going to cause problems later. And, indeed, we only have to move to the 2nd Chapter in Judge to find this passage:
Judges 2:1-2 Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break My covenant with you. (2) And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.' But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this?
Just a few verses further we see this:
Judges 2:10-13 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel. (11) Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; (12) and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. (13) They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.
Note that it only took 1 generation for the people to forget the mighty things which the Lord had done for them. This generation “did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals…” This, of course, is a direct violation of the 1st Commandment which says “you shall serve no other gods…” The Bible leaves no room for doubt about the relationship between the people and the Baals, but says plainly that the people “served” the Baals.
In the 1st Commandment, God says “for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” and indeed that’s what he does to the Israelites in:
Judges 2:14-15 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. (15) Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for calamity, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.
However, the 1st Commandment ends with this statement: “…but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” That’s exactly what happens in:
Judges 2:16 Nevertheless, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them out of the hand of those who plundered them.
Unfortunately, as the story continues to unfold:
Judges 2:17 Yet they would not listen to their judges, but they played the harlot with other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly from the way in which their fathers walked, in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do so.
Nevertheless, God’s mercy remains incredibly firm:
Judges 2:18 And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed them and harassed them.
People being what people are, though, they continued in their evil ways:
Judges 2:19 And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they reverted and behaved more corruptly than their fathers, by following other gods, to serve them and bow down to them. They did not cease from their own doings nor from their stubborn way.
Judges 2:20-23 Then the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He said, "Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not heeded My voice, (21) I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, (22) so that through them I may test Israel, whether they will keep the ways of the LORD, to walk in them as their fathers kept them, or not." (23) Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out immediately; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.
God is absolutely righteous in His judgment. He has given a simple command to his created creatures and that command is “Have no other gods before me.” Yet, the creatures break this command time after time after time, in spite of having seen God’s great miracles and deliverance, and in spite of being the recipients of His infinite mercy. Finally, God punishes them. Who can say that their punishment was not just? I find it amazing that God’s mercy lasted so long! If I were God, I’d have punished them long and hard right away. But fortunately for the world, I’m not God and fortunately for all of us, God is!
Moving on through Judges we find case after case where “Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, forsook Him, and worshipped the Baals and Ashtoreths”. In fact, this happens in Chapters 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13 of Judges. I find that the phrase “did evil in the sight” of the Lord occurs 48 times in the Bible, all throughout the books of Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, 1 Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Jeremiah. Is this a persuasive part of human nature, or what? And don’t think the modern world is any better- if anything, we may be worse and I’ll explore why I think this as the week goes on. For now, let’s turn to a second example of following other gods.
This second example is that of King Solomon. At the dedication of the new temple to the Lord, which Solomon was allowed to build, but no his father David, God blessed Solomon with wisdom, making him perhaps the wisest man who ever lived.
1 Kings 4:29-34 And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore. (30) Thus Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the men of the East and all the wisdom of Egypt. (31) For he was wiser than all menthan Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. (32) He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five. (33) Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish. (34) And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon.
In addition, God blessed him with riches and long life. But there was also a warning in the blessing, which we see in:
1 Kings 3:13-14 And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days. (14) So if you walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days."
Unfortunately, in spite of his great wisdom, Solomon fell.
1 Kings 11:1-14 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites (2) from the nations of whom the LORD had said to the children of Israel, "You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods." Solomon clung to these in love. (3) And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. (4) For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David. (5) For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. (6) Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David. (7) Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. (8) And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. (9) So the LORD became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the LORD God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, (10) and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he did not keep what the LORD had commanded. (11) Therefore the LORD said to Solomon, "Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. (12) Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. (13) However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of my servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen." (14) Now the LORD raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was a descendant of the king in Edom.
Let this be a lesson to us! Are we greater in wisdom than Solomon? However, we can learn from Solomon’s example. Regarding the Hebrews in the wilderness during their journey from bondage, Paul tells us:
1 Corinthians 10:5-6 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. (6) Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
Tomorrow we’ll look at some of our idols and get to know the enemy a little better. For now, meditate on these things and ask God to show you the idols in your life. Study carefully the examples given in the Bible. Then, do as Paul exhorts, and flee from idolatry. Have no other Gods beside God Almighty. In Jesus’ name, amen!
False Idols- Thou Shall Have No Other Gods
False Idols- Identifying The Enemy