In May of this year, I posted a provocative blog entry in which I posited the suggestion that God will give you what you want – what you really want, rather than what you think you want. In our rebellion, ultimately what we really want is a life in which God does not “interfere.” Today, we see this again, but this time in the Old Testament, in the writings of the prophet Hosea.
“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” – Hosea 4:17, NASB
The use of Ephraim is a reference to the ten northern tribes of the divided kingdom, with Israel in the north, and Judah in the south. The leaders of the northern tribes had presumed upon God’s patience and mercy to such an extent that they crossed a line, a point of no return, forgetting the reality that our gracious and longsuffering God is also a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). God reached his limit with Israel and said, “Just let them go their way. Leave them alone. Let them sleep in the beds they make for themselves.”
The people had become pantheistic (God is in all of nature) and polytheistic (there are many gods) in order to identify with the nations around them. Repeatedly, God had sounded warnings regarding such alignments long before he gave Israel the promised land. “Do not worship their gods … do not inquire about their gods … do not worship me in the ways they worship their gods.”
With complete disregard for the warnings from God, the people of Israel became fully infatuated with the pantheistic and polytheistic worship of the nations around them. They were mesmerised by the worship of nature, by the rampant immorality, by the occult practices. Their fascination grew into an overpowering vortex of enchantment that eventually drew God’s people into an irrevocable commitment to the neighboring nations’ un-gods. God reached a point of no return, knowing that it was pointless to attempt to reclaim them.
Scripture is replete with warnings about this very occurrence, and we would do well to pay heed:
“My Spirit shall not strive with man forever…” – Genesis 6:3, NASB
Repeatedly in Exodus, Pharaoh
“…hardened his heart and did not listen…” – e.g. Exodus 8:15
Jesus demonstrated that there are hearts so hard that it is pointless to even present them the good news.
“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind…” – Matthew 15:14a, NASB
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine…” – Matthew 7:6a, NASB
Such statements throughout scripture should be at least a little disconcerting for those who are intrigued by, and dabbling in evolutionism, magical arts, pantheism, current-generation philosophy, or humanism. They seem to suggest rather strongly that there is a point at which one’s conscience becomes so seared that the dabbling becomes full-blown involvement, and even addiction to the deadly and God-dishonouring practice. Such engagement is presumptuous at best, and is recklessly driving toward the cliff at which God finally says, “Let him alone…”
Victoriously in Christ!
Over to you: What does Satan do that makes idols so attractive to us?