The Sin of Idolatry (Genesis 31:19) - Radical

The Sin of Idolatry (Genesis 31:19)

“Laban had gone to shear his sheep and Rachel stole her father’s household gods.”
-Genesis 31:19

This is a really humbling verse when you think about it and you think about its effects long after this moment. So Jacob and Rachel and their family are fleeing from Laban at this point, who has, in a sense, held them captive. And as they are fleeing, and there are all kinds of deception going on, so much we could talk about here, but this verse, while Laban is out shearing his sheep, tells us that Rachel stole her father’s household gods. So the picture is, here in this family, there is a father who has set up gods, little G gods, in the house to be worshiped, prayed to, sought, leaned upon, trusted in. And the effect of those household gods doesn’t extend just to the father, but to his daughter who adopts those household gods to the point of stealing them and taking them with her in a way that they will show up again in Jacob’s tent as he is traveling.

Take a moment to consider what idols are pervasive in your life.

And God will say, “What are you doing with these gods in your presence? Why are you worshiping these household gods?” And it’s this picture just from one generation to the next, from one household to the next, idolatry being passed down. So I just want to encourage you as we pray according to Genesis chapter 31 verse 19, to consider, one, what are the idols in your house? What are the idols in your life? What are the idols in your heart? And how are those idols not just affecting you, but also affecting people around you, whether it’s family members, whether it’s parents affecting children, children affecting parents? Or maybe it’s just affecting friends, or maybe it’s affecting your church. Think about when you and I think about sin, idolatry, immorality, let’s never be fooled into thinking that sin only affects us. That’s a lie straight from the adversary. It’s not true. Our sin almost always affects people around us, particularly the people who are closest to us.

So, God, we pray. Please rid us of idolatry in each of our hearts. God, we pray that you would open our eyes, even right now soften our hearts, that we might see ways in which we are worshiping gifts instead of you as the giver, ways in which we are trusting in people or things instead of putting all our trust in you, ways in which we are loving people or things, looking to people or things in ways that we should only be looking to you, in ways that we should only be loving you, the first and greatest commandment, to love you with all our heart and soul and mind and strength. God, help us to see even good things, realizing idols are oftentimes good things that we are prone to put our trust in instead of you as our God, to trust in money, to focus on appearance, to seek after success, to idolize sex and sexuality, and to give ourselves to sexual immorality and thoughts and desires and actions. God, so many ways that we are prone to idolatry and immorality in our homes, in our hearts, in ways that don’t just affect us.

God, we pray all of this, not just for our statement, for the sake of those around us. God, I pray for my kids to be influenced by righteousness in me, not by sin and idolatry in me. God, I pray that my wife would be influenced by righteousness in me, not by idolatry, immorality in me. God, I pray this for my kids, my grandkids. God, I pray this for friends who are around me. God, I pray this for the church family you’ve given me the privilege of being a part of. God, knowing that my sin doesn’t just affect me, but it affects those around me. God, I pray for the good of my family, my church family, my friends, for the good of those who are lost around me who don’t know you, who need to see you, Jesus, in your life in me. God, I pray these things in my life, over each person’s life who’s listening to this right now.

God, help us to flee all kinds of immorality, to flee all kinds of idolatry, that they would not be idolatry in our hearts, in our homes. And God, we pray the same for people far us as we pray for unreached people groups each day. God, we pray for the Dolpa in Nepal who are worshiping different gods namely, Buddhist idols, in the villages of Nepal, high in those mountains. God, we pray that you would bring them to the knowledge of Jesus as the one true God, that you would cause the Gospel to go to the Dolpa in Nepal. Oh God, we pray. In our lives, our families, our churches, and among the nations, show that you are the one true God who’s worthy of all of our love, all of our trust, and all of our worship and joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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