In the days of Eli the High Priest and his two sons Hophni and Phinehas, who were officiating in the Mishkan in Shilo, the Philistines were at war with
. Shmu’el who had joined that family as a
child, grew up in the proximity of the Mishkan, and when just a lad he heard
the voice of YHVH declare the demise of Eli’s family. Idolatry was running rampant in Israel at that
time, including in the priesthood. As a
result YHVH caused the Philistines to make war on Israel . Over time, the Israelites
had lost a number of their cities to the enemy.
On this particular occasion, Eli’s sons decided to carry the Ark of the
Covenant to the battlefield, as Israel was being defeated by the enemy. They had in mind that this holy article would
bring them ‘good luck’ in the war. Thus,
the Ark itself had become an idol; just another of the gods, or an object that
the Israelites were putting their trust in.
Our forefathers seemed to be prone to idol worship, adulterating their
relationship with their Spiritual husband, Elohey Israel . Israel
Is it any different today? Do we still serve idols, even as believers in the New Covenant? Idol worship during those times was external and tangible in nature; objects that could be seen, like the Ashtarot, Baals and the many foreign gods of the nations. In his letter to Timothy, Paul describes other types of gods that would become prevalent in the latter days: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4 emphasis added). The one most common idol in today’s world is humanism, which is the result of worshiping oneself and exulting in pride and self-righteousness manifested in the works of the flesh. This is illustrated in the book of Daniel by Nebuchadnezzar, who was the representative head of the statue which epitomized humanity and its achievements (ref. Daniel 2:36-38).
But this of course does not apply to us, believers in the Gospel of the kingdom… or does it? In our day idol worship is seen as a thing of the past, definitely not pertaining to those who worship the God of the bible. We attend church, synagogue, congregation, or a home fellowship, study the Word and give praise, honor and glory to Whom it is due. This all seems well and good, but do we still have idols in our lives that we are concealing in our hearts? To the New Covenant believers it is written: “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is [oopsss..] idolatry”! (Colossians 3:5 emphasis added). Have you ever considered that when entertaining the “works of the flesh” (see Galatians 5:19-21) you were actually serving an idol and adulterating your relationship with Yeshua? In the days of Shmu’el, the enemy was allowed to make war against
of idolatry. Is it not written: “Now
all these things happened to them [ Israel ] as examples, and they
were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come”
(1 Corinthians 10:11)? Israel
We read in the scriptures: “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants to obey, you are that one's servant whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16) “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts” (Romans 6:12), which is idolatry. Yeshua spoke a truth that not only pertained to Him and the Father, but can also be applied to our relationship to Sin: "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him” (John 13:16). Satan is the prince and power of the air, which is the spirit realm of the kingdom of darkness. Thus Satan, who is the “strong man” of his kingdom, sends his underlings to carry out his will – killing, stealing and destroying. These lesser entities are the ones that tempt us to cooperate with their fallen nature. If we submit our will to their dominion, we become their servants, and in actuality we are worshiping the one who is greater than they, “Satan”. Many are led to believe that Satan worship is some grotesque occult practice (which it is), but the evil one also masquerades as an angel of light, and his subtle tactics can fool even the most mature believers. We need to realize that when we cooperate with the nature of sin, we are actually worshiping Satan and will experience the consequences by being defeated by our spiritual (and natural) enemies, as did Israel of old, unless we repent.
After the loss of the Ark of the Covenant and the ensuing death of Eli and his sons, YHVH raised up Shmu’el to bring the nation to repentance. “Then Shmu’el spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If you return to YHVH with all your hearts, put away the foreign gods and the Ashtarot from among you, and prepare your hearts for YHVH, and serve Him only; He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines’" (1 Samuel 7:3 emphasis added). The Spirit of YHVH warns us throughout the Word that, if we entertain idols we will not inherit the
Corinthians 6:9). We cannot serve
two masters. When Yeshua was casting out
demons, He was accused by the religious leaders for invoking Beelzebub.
Yeshua’s response to them is also very important for us, helping to gain an
understanding about YHVH’s Kingdom: "But
if I cast out demons by the Spirit of Elohim, surely the kingdom of Elohim has
come upon you” (Matthew 12:28). The
evidence of YHVH’s Kingdom is our ability to cast down every evil thought and
imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim and His
righteousness, peace and joy (see 2
Corinthians 10:4-5). Kingdom of Elohim