But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived. The men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. They also feared the Lord and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. So they feared the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away. (2 Kings 17:29-33 ESV)
A lot happens in this chapter of 2 Kings. Israel is invaded by Assyria and taken onto exile, spread throughout Assyria’s other conquered lands (Judah in the South remains). People from other conquered lands are resettled in Israel. But these new folks do not know the Lord and so the Alford causes lions to ravage them. Realizing this, the Assyrian leader sends back a priest of Israel to show teach them the ways of the god of the land. (This was a common thought in ancient times, that each land had its own god.) But the people did not follow the statutes of the Lord. Instead they worshiped God and the gods from their hometowns.
This seems strange to us since we don’t believe there are gods in the sense of personal beings that reign over particular lands. But that doesn’t mean we are not guilty of this same thing. Our gods are not beings but are no less gods to us. Our culture worships money, power, popularity, pleasure and things like these. Many worship the Lord too,must they have not given up these other gods of our culture. We too need to remember the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” The Lord is a jealous God, like a husband is for his wife. He wants all of us, just he gives himself fully to us. There is no room for another.
Can you think of “gods” of your culture? What are they?
Ask God to give you an undivided heart that longs for the Lord alone.
McCheyne’s reading plan: 2 Ki 17, Ti 3, Ho 10, Ps 70-71