THE ALTAR OF GOD
In this season of heavy transition, God desires to clear our hearts of anything that is an idol. The enemy desires you to be filled to the brim with idols, large and small. Idols will always stand in the way of all that God desires to do in and through us. Idols will cripple us in known and unknown ways. Idols cause problems in relationships until permanent damage is experienced. They can shift us off of God’s momentum in life. They can cause us to abandon what is truly important to chase after what is fleeting.
Abraham had created the seed of an idol through the promise of a child. When the promise took too long to manifest, they hatched up a not so great idea to have a child through Hagar. This is how some idols work. We will do anything to make it happen or to possess it regardless of the parameters God sets in place. But that didn’t satisfy either one of them. It was done by their own hands against what God actually said would take place.
When the promise did come and as Isaac grew, it was clear the atmosphere could not handle the two boys in the same area. God allowed them to choose Isaac even knowing that he had become the idol over Ishmael. But we see that God protected Hagar and Ishmael with prophetic promise over them as well. God does not treat people with the same unfairness that we carry in our hearts. Idols will cause us to see things through the wrong lens and perception.
In the very next chapter in Genesis 22, we see God testing Abraham’s heart by telling him to place Isaac on the Altar. There was no way for Abraham to know God was just testing him with an alternate ending. Abraham was told to take his precious blessing of Isaac and place him on the altar designed to be set on fire. Out of pure reverence for God and sacrificial obedience did he hand over his most amazing of gifts. Abraham decided in that moment that God was more important and placed Him fully in the center of his heart. In that moment, Isaac dying would have been the end of what God spoke over Abraham’s life. To follow God, we have to come to the end of what we think, what we desire, and how we believe God will accomplish His plans over our lives.
Whatever we place in the Center of our Heart becomes in the place that was created solely for God. We were created to worship and fellowship with God as our source for everything. What we put in His place, will have the same POWER over us because it is in the domain that carries that POWER. This is how people get destroyed by their idols. Your idols will cause you to have unhealthy habits and reactions. You will spend excessive amounts of money chasing and pursuing that idol. You will throw caution to the wind until you have nothing left. Idols are things you feel you can safely control and still escape destruction. You will “worship” what is in the center. We will never see that the devil is behind that idol unless we choose to let it go or change its importance in our life. Abraham made many decisions trying to preserve Isaac at the detriment of others. If Abraham had sought God before creating a child with Hagar, he would have proven that God was center and this idolatry seed would not have grown out of his heart. What will we check with God first before we go ahead with our plans?
At the Root of all idolatry is the notion of having Control. When we have a god in the form of a statue, we believe if we carry out certain rituals, that the gods will do what we are asking for. If I do this, then the god will do that. Does the enemy not have the ability to make our desires happen when we are worshipping something other than God? There is always a price for everything the devil does. Are we not asking for something from every idol even when we are not worshipping statues? Stop and think about what you are truly expecting emotionally and physically, and what your soul is gaining from that idol. Who is suffering because we place more importance on an idol than those around us?
I invite each one of you to take this time of reflection into what or who is an idol in your own life. What will you shrink back from when asked to place it on the altar not knowing the outcome. Will it be burned up to ashes or will God provide the ram? We can cherish our own abilities into an idol; cherish our jobs and finances above God; cherish our family and friends to the point we forsake God’s voice. Is our marriage suffering to idolatry of another person in the family? What or who do we spend too much money on? Where is our focus daily? Does God place number 1 or is He further down on the list? Does following God trump everything else at any minute of the day? Do we see God as our sole source or are we placing our faith and trust in other things or people?
You may not think your idol carries that much power, however, just as Abraham did not live to see all of the affects his heart issues carried to generation after generation, we often will not see the damage either. Your choices have an ability for positive or negative upon the atmosphere. Use this current downtime wisely to clean up any area that has been a gateway for the enemy to control your thoughts, will, and emotions.