This passage just blew me away. I had always assumed that the children of Israel had worshiped either the Lord or the gods of the land where they were living. Here we're told that the king of Assyria sent a priest of the Lord back to the land of Samaria to teach the people how to worship the Lord.
But the people living there had their own gods so they simply added the worship of the Lord to the worship of the gods they had. Despite being warned against the practice of worshiping the Lord as just another god to appease, the people continued in their multiple gods form of worship.
"Even while theses people were worshiping the Lord, they were serving their idols. To this day their children and grandchildren continue to do as their fathers did." (v.41)
So what has this passage to do with us today? We don't necessarily call it worship -- perhaps hero worship -- but it's not the same thing, is it?
Yesterday, and for the last week, the news has been filled with the death of a single musician whom the tabloids and media hype called a king. We have a TV program titled "American Idol." We follow celebrities and their movements, their causes, their love lives, their clothing choices, their hairstyles. And many of us try to emulate them.
If that weren't enough, we have other idols that vie for first place in our lives, our professions, our influence, our finances, our positions of power.
God wants our whole heart - not just a small corner of it. Not even the top corner of it. He wants it all. Every other action or desire must flow from our love of God and His primacy in our lives.
All else is the worst form of adultery.
Help us to become more single minded, setting our hearts upon You alone. Teach us how to keep the other necessities of our existence in their proper place, subordinate to You.
In Jesus' most precious name.