Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Family worship

family in front of a cross
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 7:16-34

TO CHEW ON: "The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven, and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger." Jeremiah 7:18

The kids gather wood. Dad lights the fire. Mom kneads the dough. The whole family is involved in preparing offering cakes for the "queen of heaven"*

Compare this to the picture Moses draws of the family united in worship of Yahweh. Parents use teachable moments throughout the day to instruct. They surround themselves with reminders of God's laws, wearing them on their persons and writing them on their walls and doorposts (Deuteronomy 6:9).

Both are sweet scenes of family togetherness. But how different the outcomes!

The worship of God will result, Moses promises, in national well-being (Deuteronomy 6:3), and, Joshua promises, prosperity and success (Joshua 1:8). But  for the idol-worshiping families, Jeremiah predicts the Valley of Tophet (a high place where children are sacrificed to Molech - Jeremiah 7:31) becomes the "Valley of Slaughter" and the whole land is desolate - Jeremiah 7:34.

What kind of worship are we modelling for our children? What sorts of pursuits are we involving them in? Are we consumed with things that demonstrate obedience to God and His ways? Things for which God's word promises a blessing and well-being? Or do we live and model preoccupation with other things?

Sure, sports and the arts are worthwhile. Filling our time with Netflix and social media—what else is there? Going on holidays to entertainment meccas—well, everybody does it.

But where is God in this? Do our kids ever find us on our knees? Interrupt us while we're reading our Bibles? Overhear Christian music or Bible teaching coming from our radios and TVs?

No, we don't involve them in preparing sacrifices to idol statues of silver and gold. But could we be dragging them into the worship of other idols—the idols of achievement, glory, entertainment, fun, self-indulgence? And what will be the final chapter of our worship? Well-being or desolation (Jeremiah 7:23, 34)?

PRAYER: Dear God, please show me the idols of my own heart. Help me to model obedient, faithful, passionate worship of You to my children and grandchildren. Amen.

*The "queen of heaven" is probably Ishtar, also known as Ashtaroth and Ashtoreth-Astarte. She was  a Canaanite deity which the Israelites had begun worshiping soon after arriving in Canaan (Judges 2:13; 10:6). Involvement with Ashtoreth was common in the time of Samuel (1 Samuel 7:3,4). Solomon pursued her (1 Kings 11:5; 2 Kings 23:13.


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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