Dangerous Double Duty
(2 Kings 17:3-41; 18:7-12)
The Israelites Are Taken into Captivity in Assyria
From Standard Bible Story Readers, Book One
By Lillie A. Faris
Illustrated by O. A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
Multitasking may be lauded in busy societies such as ours. Hectic hard-working folks look to efficiency experts for time management techniques. Everyone seems to need a few more hours each day, a few more days each month and a few more months in the year.
This week, for example, I have already become double-booked and have to shuffle the schedule a bit to accomplish all that seemingly needs to be done. What really counts?
We ponder our productivity. If we had a little more time, we could make more money, more friends, more fun and more of a name for ourselves. We may even desire to make more of an impact on the world for the Lord.
Certainly, productive use of time is a praise-worthy asset. On the other hand, is it possible for us to multi-task to a fault? At what cost do we divide our focus among multiple concerns? Do certain circumstances exist, in which we might do better to attempt a single goal with our full attention?
We might consider our worship of the Lord. Are we willing to focus wholly upon Him? And, even if we resolve to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to God, do our actions reflect this?
Ouch. Can you feel the conviction, as I can?
What a difficult balance this can be, even though it sounds so simple. Clearly, the Lord does not desire for us to drop all of our daily responsibilities. He surely is honored by honest labor and the diligent use of the gifts and talents He has given to each of us. And our Heavenly Father is likely delighted to see His children enjoying the pleasures and beauties of His creation.
Where is the line between productive industry and pagan idolatry?
Ancient Israel’s Example
Around 725 B.C., the children of Israel were conquered and carried off to Assyria. Their lands were seized and inhabited by foreigners. Although God had sent prophets to warn His people against idolatry and call them to earnest faith, they continued to practice both divine worship and pagan practices.
“They would not listen, however,
but persisted in their former practices.
Even while these people were worshiping the Lord,
they were serving their idols.”
The children of Israel had erected fertility idols. They had claimed to honor the Lord, but they had also bowed down to the stars in the sky. (Does this smack of astrology to anyone?) They had crafted hand-made gods and placed them in their homes, under their trees and on the hills of their lands. And God was not pleased.
What idols might we abide, or even adore, today? What sorts of spirits do we serve, either willingly or unwittingly?
This Old Testament example makes me want to sort through our bookshelves, our video shelves and even our china cabinet. We don’t have anything representing pornography or the occult. Still, I have to wonder if everything we have collected truly honors the Lord.
I wonder if my daily schedule reflects a single-minded purpose of glorifying God and knowing Him more.
May God guide us and open our eyes to anything we may have allowed in our lives that draws us away from Him.
Will you pray with me?
You are the only true God.
None other deserves our worship.
Reveal to us
Any idols we may have permitted
Into our homes
Or our hearts.
Teach us to toss
And follow You
We long to belong
Only to You.