What Does It Mean to Fear the Lord? (2 Kings 17:33) - Radical

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What Does It Mean to Fear the Lord? (2 Kings 17:33)

So they feared the Lord, but also served their own gods after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.
– 2 Kings 17:33

Isn’t that an interesting phrase in 2 Kings 17:33? “They feared the Lord, but they also served their own gods after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.” In other words, they tacked on the worship of false gods to the worship of the one, true God, and basically set up a system where they worshiped many gods, including the Lord, which we know from the first commandment that God gives to his people in Exodus 20. “You shall worship the Lord, your God and serve, fear him only.”

And yet, as I read this 2 Kings 17:33, I can’t help but to think about how all of us are tempted to tack on worship of other gods in addition to the worship of the one, true God. Like we would say, “Yes, we worship God,” but in our lives, are we worshiping God alone? Is the Lord the sole object of our worship? And in what ways are we prone to give our worship, our affection, our attention, our devotion, to other gods in this world?

2 Kings 17:33 Reminds Us to Commit Our Devotion to God

You think about going to a place like India, where you see literally hundreds of millions of gods that are being worshiped. And it’s almost easy to say, “Yes, that’s the worship of many gods.” But how are you and I tempted to turn many different things in this world into gods, whether it’s money, or success, or sex, or sports, or self-image, or numerous things that if you look at our lives, you would see us giving our time, our attention, our affection, and our devotion to above God.

And so we pray. God to help us to worship and serve you only. We confess in prayer right now that you alone are worthy of our worship. There is no other God but you. You are the one true God. We want to love you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, with all that we have. Not part of what we have, and part given to other gods.

2 Kings 17:33 Leads Us to Pray for Freedom from Idols

God, we pray that you would free our hearts and lives from idolatry. Please help us to flee the worship of anything or anyone apart from you. Even as we pray this right now, oh God, you help us to examine our hearts. Help us to see anything or anyone in our lives that is competing with you for the supremacy of our affections, and our attention, and our devotion.

This Verse Leads Us to Pray for the Unreached

And God, we pray in light of 2 Kings 17:33 when it talks about the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away. God, knowing that the nations are worshiping all kinds of gods, even as we just mentioned in India, or the Druze of Syria, this unreached people group, that’s a sect of Islam, but has different beliefs than many Muslims.

Regardless, oh God, so many people, including the Druze of Syria who are worshiping false gods. God, we pray that you would make your glory as the one true God known among the Druze of Syria. That your glory as the one, true God, would be evident in our lives, and our families, and our churches. That we would not be guilty of fearing the Lord, but also serving other gods. May it not be so. We pray in Jesus’ name according to 2 Kings 17:33. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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