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Are You Trying to Have It Both Ways?

Daily Reading: 2 Kings 17


So these nations feared the Lord and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children's children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day. (2 Kings 17.41)


Devotional Thought: Israel, went into exile because of their idolatry and disobedience.  They had been chosen by God, freed from slavery in Egypt, fed with manna in the wilderness, and delivered by heroes.  They had the Law of Moses and the reign of David.  Yet, they deserted their Foundation.  They got their eyes off their Deliverer.  They wandered away from his love and his protection.


It’s not that Israel had completely forgotten the Lord, but they tried to do two things at one time – two things that were diametrically opposed: fear the Lord and serve their idols.  When Israel did that, their children followed their example.


Centuries before, Joshua had warned them to put away their foreign gods (Joshua 24.14).  Yet they could never quite let go of these idols.  God had even sent them Elijah who preached to them: “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18.21).  When they were in distress, they called upon God.  When things were going well, they forgot him.  Finally, God grew weary of their lukewarm love and let them go their way. 


Israel tried to have it both ways, but they couldn’t.  Sadly, they drug their children down with them.


From the beginning, God has demanded our exclusive and faithful love: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20.3).  Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.  We cannot hold anything in reserve for another.  When we do, we invariably will slide away from God, taking our children and others with us.


Are you trying to have it both ways?


Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I try to have it both ways - to love you and to love the world.  I offer myself to you right now.  I am yours wholly.  Make me holy - set apart to you, O Lord.  Amen.


Psalm of the Day: 18.13-18

13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.

14 And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.

15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.

16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.

17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.

18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.

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