“For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.” (1 Kings 11:5-6)
Here’s the wisest king that ever lived, whose rumored wealth still boggles the human mind, yet later in life, we find him worshipping the gods of the Phoenicians. [See also 1Ki 3:5-14]
What happened? Deception.
The devil is the deceiver. We are told this repeatedly in the book of Revelation. It says that he deceives the world, deceives the earth, and deceives the nations. Jesus called him the father of lies. [Rev 12:9; 13:4; 20:2,8,20; Jn 8:44]
We’ve overlooked one important thing about deception. It is subtle. It creeps up on you. If it were obvious, it wouldn’t be deception. The person being deceived believes in their new thought completely, no matter how outlandish it is, and even greater, they will defend it. But good excuses do not make a lie into truth.
On May 6, 2021, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Restoration begins in the house of God.”
Something that needs to be restored has fallen into a state of disrepair. If you restore an old chair, then parts of the chair are not what they once were. We tend to push the need for correction off on the other person. We cling to an “it’s not me” attitude. Today, we ask God to restore the nation, the election process, and the government, yet we ignore our sins. God demands we search our hearts. Restoration begins in HIS HOUSE because it is THE GLORY OF HIS HOUSE that will cause the change to come.
In John 4:22, Jesus addressed the Samaritan woman with the words, “Ye worship ye know not what.” He was speaking of the differences that had crept into Samaritan beliefs from those given to the Jews. But I see a current parallel. We do not know what we are worshiping. Slowly, wrong ideals have crept in through deception, wrong desires that we defend as worthwhile and just. But these wrong beliefs come between us and God. Jesus called them “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” and said they would make us unfruitful [See Lk 21:34] He also spoke through the apostle Paul about the love of money, calling it the “root of all evil.”
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
Notice, the love of money caused people to “err” or be lead astray from correct beliefs and the result was sorrow. Money has become an idol. It is seen as a solution. “If I had enough, then …” I hear this from people all the time. A few years back, God showed me my own attitude about money, and He helped me overcome it. Now, I need it to pay bills, buy food, and etcetera, but I refuse to let the seeming lack of it bring me grief. Truthfully, I have had more than enough since I made that choice, even when it looked like my bank account was thin.
In Acts 17, Paul was speaking to the Gentile crowd about their homage to “the unknown God,” and he said, “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto GOLD, OR SILVER, OR STONE, GRAVEN BY ART AND MAN'S DEVICE. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:29-30)
God is not “like unto,” a phrase that means “similar to,” gold, silver, money, or any carved idol. Christians don’t have a problem avoiding idolic statues, but money they will readily embrace. Now, this isn’t a diatribe against money. I will insert every Christian should study the concept of tithing. I do not have space here for that today, but we are told to tithe, and it is the key to God’s blessing. The reluctance to give the tithe ties back to the sorrow over loss of money. Trust me when I say it is incredible to become free of that.
My point is, love of money leads to excess, and excess leads men astray. Men start to worship they know not what and become consumed with other things. As a result, God slips to second place. This is the height of idol worship. [See Lk 21:34]
On May 10, 2021, four days later, the Holy Spirit gave me a series of short mental images, which relate to these things. In the first, I saw a school of cartoon fish, smiling and swimming in the ocean. It looked normal and peaceful.
Then I heard the Lord say, “There’s a shark in the water, but my people swim around with it. RESIST THE DEVIL.” [See 1Pe 5:8-9]
The image changed. I saw the figure of a man grab the shark by the tail and sling it in a violent circle. We do not typically think of this command from Scripture and apply it to idolatry. Idolatry seems easy to resist, according to our image of it. But as we’ve said, idolatry comes from deception, and deception is subtle. One day, you realize how unhappy you are, how worried you’ve become, and how NECESSARY other things are OVER AND ABOVE GOD. This is the core of idol worship. It is swimming around with a shark, who is waiting to devour you, and not realizing the danger you are in.
The second image was of a table lined with sliced bread.
I heard the Lord say, “Some take the bread of life and are not satisfied with it. They make it into peanut butter sandwiches to please their taste buds. Jesus (is) mixed with or ‘weakened’ in their minds by other things. ‘I don’t like this verse, so I’ll interpret it this way.’”
The third image was of a waiter’s hand delivering a pizza.
I heard the Lord say, “This isn’t pizza and a movie.”
People in the church have used the shewbread to create what they’ve wanted, but THE HOLY SPIRIT SAYS, “THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOUR ENTERTAINMENT.” Our need to be entertained has become an idol. God asks us to give Him everything. Stop mixing the Word of God into other flavors so that the drink tastes a particular way. Word of God smoothies. Peanut butter sandwiches.
Jesus is enough on His own.
Instead, we are distracted during time of worship or Bible study. During the sermon, we’re picking out our next meal or where we’ll go afterward. In today’s age, we’re at home snacking during the live video feed. Can’t we sit one hour, can’t we pray one hour, can’t we give God one hour without letting idols creep in? [See Mt 26:40]
The Holy Spirit said, “The unadulterated Word of God.”
Something unadulterated is pure and unmixed with other things. To “adulterate” an item means you have added inferior materials, cheaper or lesser quality goods, in the production of a genuine article. (Dictionary)
God forbid, we make the Word of God out of the worthless words of men. God forbid, we take the Truth and mold it into a lie. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth.” The ISV translates this last phrase, “handling the word of truth WITH PRECISION.” The Amplified Bible says, “ACCURATELY HANDLING AND SKILLFULLY TEACHING the word of truth.”
God asks we handle His Word with precision, skill, and accuracy. This means we don’t water it down with our humanness. We set aside our own desires and ideals and seek God’s heart. It means not being distracted from His work in us. It means seeking His truth over tasteful deception. [See Jn 17:17]
I have prayed the words of David for many years, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps 51:10) Show me where I’ve gotten off the right path and lead me back to Your footsteps. Don’t let me walk around ignoring You, Lord, but let me see You, let me hear You, even in the busyness. This is truly my heart’s greatest desire.
In the last image, the Lord showed me a cross. He then spoke, pointedly. His tone was forceful, so please meditate on His words and take them to heart. He is speaking to His church of what HE WILL DO. We must place ourselves in the line of His holiness to receive it.
The Lord said, “My people take things down off the cross that I have paid for. They change what has been purchased to satisfy their meager intellect. The price has been paid, and your salvation from EVERY AREA has been purchased IN FULL. It was a complete work. It cannot be understood with the mind. It takes a NEW SPIRIT MAN and must be accepted by faith.” [See 1Co 2:14; Jn 4:24]
Physical and mental healing is a work of the cross. STOP TAKING IT DOWN. Having your needs met in abundance is a work of the cross. STOP SETTING IT ASIDE. Stop walking in the flesh to please the flesh but choose to walk in the spirit and please God. Choose righteousness. [See Rm 8:1, 4-5; Gal 5:16]
The Holy Spirit said, “The cross is not a souvenir. It is the altar of sacrifice. It is not meant to be split into fragments and sold for profit nor even taken and buried as treasure in a field. But there, the Son of Man gave His life to purchase freedom. There, the COMPLETE WORK was begun. I do not need shrines of gold and silver. I need HEARTS who are seeking me above all else, including temporary earthly pleasures and physical comforts and cultural conformities. DON'T BLEND IN but STAND OUT and STAND FORTH and KEEP STANDING. This pleases me. Make the cross your backbone and the Resurrection your spine. Unadulterated, without mixing in your excess. Kneel before your Maker and don't consider what it looks like, what it feels like. Then when you have laid yourself bare, I will lift you up and provide the comforts, but they will come from my blessing and not from your own fears and greed. There is the difference. Faith requires turning loose. It asks your devotion, your trust. I sacrificed all and ask you to honor it with your all. STOP MAKING ME SECOND PLACE.”
Seek first His kingdom, He asks. Seek it over your time, over your comforts, over EVERYTHING ELSE and STAND FOR SOMETHING ETERNAL. Make your praise a lifestyle, and that lifestyle a sacrifice. [See Mt 6:33; Heb 13:15]
Recall to mind Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. It was meant to be a house of prayer, but the religious leaders of the day turned it into deception and thievery. They became workers for the devil while standing in the house, once filled with God’s presence. They stared the PRESENCE OF GOD in the eye and condemned Him to death, to worship money, power, and greed.
No more! RESTORATION WILL BEGIN IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, AMONGST GOD’S PEOPLE. It will sweep outward into the lives of the lost. The harvest is great. God needs workers dedicated to Him, who give their all, no matter what that requires and without seeking the reward. There is a reward for the faithful, the humble, the meek. These shall inherit the earth and delight themselves in the abundance of peace. [See Ps 37:11]
There isn’t a better future than that, but it will take our willingness to be A SPOTLESS BRIDE for us to see the fulfillment of it. [See Eph 5:27]
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay
Suzanne D. Williams, Author