Computer science teaches a very basic concept: garbage in, garbage out. What you put in is what you get back. The sad demise of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament reinforces this concept.
“They would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God. They despised his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false…” (2 Kings 17:14-15a).
They gave their worship to false idols, and they themselves became “false.” That is not the word I expected to read. How could bowing down to a stone image make you false?
Human beings are designed to worship. That worship belongs to God, our Creator. When people misplace enthusiasm and love meant for God, they buy the lie that a possession, dream, career, or person is more important in life than God. It doesn’t matter how firmly we believe that lie, it doesn’t make it true. Like dominos falling, one lie leads to another and priorities stray far from what is true.
Israel lived amongst pagan people with priorities so twisted they sacrificed their children to idols. This is crazy through the lens of our era. However, what is it we sacrifice our children to when we show something in our life takes precedence over God? We may not bow to an image, but our comfort, bank account, sports team, or the need for control may be a lie for which we surrender all.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life’” (John 14:6). Navigating the misplaced priorities of our culture in not easy, but Jesus is where we must go for a life of truth.