God-substitute

Put God first He’ll put you first. Put Him second, He’ll put you last.

I heard these words in a service in church and have never been able to forget them. I was expecting that the end of the sentence would read put Him second He’ll put you second. But after some bible study I realised that if I didn’t give God first place in my life, then things would quickly unravel and I’ll end up flat on my face. If God is not on the throne of my heart and first in my life then whoever or whatever was the usurper, seating in God’s place would keep me separated from God.

God honours those who honour Him and, those who lightly esteem Him, He despises (1 Sam 2:30).

God says, “you shall have no other gods before Me. There is no God besides Me.”  (Exod 20:3; Isa 44:11; Isa 44:6; Isa 45:5).

In Jeremiah 3, the people of Israel had replaced God with a useless God-substitute. They dug cisterns that couldn’t hold water. In the same way, placing your hopes in anything other than God is useless.

Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols! The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,” says the LORD. “For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me—the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” (Jer 2:11-13 NLT)

Idolatry is not limited to bowing down before a carved wooden image. The bible describes covetousness as idolatry in Colossians 3:5 and Ephesians 5:5., and in Ezekiel 14:3 God spoke of idols men men et up in their hearts .

You may not have some idol that you bow down to. But it’s important to ask yourself, “what has taken the place of God in my heart and life?” What do you think about? Who gets the first and best of you? the best of your time, your money, your energy, your passions?

Do you place your hope in who you know? your skills? your bank account? your achievements and past success? Has this become your default point of call when in trouble? Do you run to God only after other ‘helpers’ have failed?

“Just as a thief is chagrined, but only when caught, so the people of Israel are chagrined…….All I ever see of them is their backsides. They never look me in the face. But when things go badly, they don’t hesitate to come running, calling out, ‘Get a move on! Save us!’ Why not go to your handcrafted gods you’re so fond of? Rouse them. Let them save you from your bad time (Jer 2:26-28 MSG).

You don’t place God alongside other options. God is not one of many options, He’s the only option. Any option other than God is a God-substitute. And any God-substitute is an idol in your heart. Idols are worthless and useless, and can’t save you. Only God can deliver you. Only Jesus saves.

Don’t go back to worshipping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you–they are totally useless  (1 Sam 12:21 NLT)

Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of  mountains: truly in the LORD our God is salvation  (Jer 3:23)

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs  (Jonah 2:8 NIV).

Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god  (Psa 16:4)

God’s wrath is poured out on idolaters. Idolaters do not inherit the kingdom of God (Col 3:5-6; Eph 5:5; 1 Cor 6:9-10)

Give God the place of honour in your life. Keep Him first. Follow Him completely. You don’t need a Plan B when you’ve got God.

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