Sometimes the shortest verses of the Bible seem to pack the most punch! Currently I’m reading through 2 Kings in my Bible reading plan. I find that the book of Kings to be a sad section of scripture. There are a few good kings that get your hopes up, but for the most part it’s about one bad king after another. This is very depressing to me. Because I have the clear vision of hindsight, I want to shout at the characters, “What do you think you’re doing?”, “That didn’t work so well for your grandpa!”, “Oh yeah, ignore the prophet… good idea!” Sadly, I can’t change the story line. I must continue reading through all the messed up stories of screwed up kings.
Towards the end of 2 Kings there is a verse that hit me so hard as I read it. 2 Kings 17:15, “They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, ‘Do not do as they do.’” Did you get that? They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. Wow! Talk about a slap in the face!
Following worthless things led to the Israelites becoming worthless and rejected by God. This made me stop and wonder what the worthless idols in my life are. What are the things that I place above my relationship with God that hold no purpose? The truth is that following worthless things leads to us becoming worthless ourselves. It’s a harsh truth and one that I have a hard time swallowing. I don’t want to become worthless. As a minister and a mentor, my biggest prayer is to be used of God, not sidelined by worthless things.
These worthless idols and convent-breaking habits were formed by imitating the nations around them. This also speaks loudly to me because I can see a similar cultural dynamic today. As Americans, we have the habit of comparing lifestyles. We’re concerned with who has what and what the next latest and greatest thing is. As Christ followers, we are not called to imitate the culture around us. We are called to change it – we are meant to have an effect on it, not let it have an effect on us. Imitation is easy because you blend in and go with the flow. Imitation makes you feel like one of the crowd. Imitation leads to worthless idols.
My take away from this passage of Scripture is this – what or who has the most influence in my life? Are the things that I’m investing myself in going to grow me closer to God or farther way? Even in the small things, I want to do my life on purpose. I don’t want to be worthless. I’m so struck how simple the path to worthless can be. It is an easy road to follow because it seems like everyone is doing it. The Israelites decided to not be counter-cultural and they became sidelined by God. They are important to Him, but He did call them worthless. Ouch! My prayer is that I will be intentional about the influences in my life and not fall in with the masses. It’s not about being like everyone else. It’s about being like Jesus.