As the Israelites approached the Promised Land, God told Moses that his death was drawing near and to call his successor, Joshua, to the tent of meeting. Deuteronomy 31:19 records God telling the two of them, "Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel.” (NASU) This is a sober warning.
God’s people were to remember and sing the song for the express purpose of it being a witness for God against their own selves. That song became the first forty-three verses of Chapter 32 of Deuteronomy. Throughout the song, God remembers the past idolatry of His people and foresees their future unfaithfulness. Toward the end of the song, God is quoted as asking, 'Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge? 'Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place! 'See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
(Deuteronomy 32:37-39, NASU) He is clearly disappointed in them and hurt by their worship of false gods despite His faithful, mighty, miraculous deliverance of them from Egypt, through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness. Their idolatry would be unbelievable to us, if it were not for our own idolatry.
They stood poised, ready to finally enter the Promised Land. As we stand ready to enter the Promised Land (and that day could come at any time), we ought to take a closer look at our own idols. What have we worshipped? What has taken time, money, allegiance, devotion, that rightly should have gone to the Lord God or for the care of you family? I don’t know what your list looks like. For any given individual it might include alcohol, hunting, illegal drugs, shopping, work, immoral sex, sports, greed, gambling, pornography, materialism, children, gossip, etc. (Yes, I do believe that some have made idols of children and gossip and that they come with a high cost.) The list could go on and on.
God asked where those gods are now. The obvious answer is that they are man-made, lifeless, and worthless. Let’s ponder their very real existence in our lives. The children of Israel worshipped gods of their own making, gods they created with their own hands. We do the same. We worship gods we have created. They exist in our own minds. So, the answer to God’s question is: Those gods are still with us. They will remain with us until we destroy them. Another important fact to remember is this: Almighty God asks one thing of you when you come to Him. He wants all of you, nothing more, nothing less. The false gods you create are never satisfied, they always want more, they will suck you dry. Furthermore, they will never satisfy you. Look over your list of idols and see if that’s not true. They will always want more of the fat of your sacrifices. They will never be able to aid you in any way. That is a bad deal to make and yet we make it regularly. We would do well to heed the plain warning to us in this passage.