Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles. -Exodus‬ ‭34:13‬ ‭(NIV)

We all have that shiny, forbidden thing that keeps calling us…tempting us…to return to it. But we know that to do it is folly. To do it is to sin…to separate us from God. But it looms over us sometimes like a giant, especially when we try to ignore it.

For the Israelites, their constant temptation was idol worship. Even in Exodus 34, God forgave them for the whole golden calf debacle and promised to help them take the Promised Land (Canaan)…but they had to cut down any Asherah poles they found.

In the books to follow, that word, Asherah, kept appearing. It was clearly a big deal. I finally looked it up: an Asherah pole was a pole or trunk carved to roughly symbolize the pagan goddess Asherah (also known as Astarte and Ishtar). She was the consort of Baal, another pagan god.

But over and over again, the Israelites returned to those poles like a bad habit. And each time they did, the consequences piled on. Suffering was always the outcome.

Today, our idolatry is the same. It’s anything that takes our eyes off God. Anything or anyone we dare to put above Him. It might be celebrities, food, drink, drugs, sex, or work. Or material things and money. Or our own children or spouses. Or other gods.

No one comes before God in the heart of a believer fixed on Him. But we all lose sight from time to time, and He is always there through our disobedience, with the Holy Spirit to urge us back to getting right with Him.

And like with the Israelites, He is patient and longsuffering. He lovingly awaits us, His children, with open arms. And no Goliath is even a speck of dust compared to the Lord!

Today’s soundtrack

Sidewalk Prophets’ “Prodigal” reminds us that we have a Father who will always take us back. All we have to do is turn from our disobedient ways and head to Him.