There is a pattern in the reigns of Judah’s kings
beginning with Solomon and continuing
through nearly every king that followed.
Solomon fell away from worshiping You,
the one true God,
and erected pagan shrines throughout the land
where people offered sacrifices to and worshiped false gods.
Even many kings who were commended for following
You with a whole heart allowed these
shrines to remain in the land.
They were a snare to the entire nation,
leading them away from God.
What is it, Lord, in my life that is a pagan shrine?
What is it that I allow to exist in my heart and life
that pulls me away from You even when
I believe that I am giving You my whole heart?
You have seen the crux of the issue that eventually led Judah into captivity.  Even though a king was devoted to Me, he would fail to purge the land completely because the idols had become so much a part of the daily life of the nation that he would not recognize the danger they presented.  The people came to the Temple, offered their regular sacrifices, and celebrated the festivals in all sincerity.  They would worship Me, follow My laws, and fulfill their duties with devotion, but near to their homes were the comforts and convenience of the familiar shrines.
The pagan gods were easy to get along with.  They didn’t demand holiness or strike any fear in their hearts because they were gods of their own invention.  They pandered to the appetites and desires of the people, justifying and excusing their selfishness, their pride, and the darkness in their hearts they were unwilling to part with.  The people could satisfy God’s expectations at the Temple and then conveniently pursue their own lusts, calling it a religion, and feeling like they were covering all the bases.
My people today are much the same.  They come to Me with their religious lives full of church, Bible study, praise music, small groups, service projects, and mission trips; these are well and good.  However, it is the other hours of the day that show where their hearts lie.  The snares of this life are not the ones that Judah face, but the result is the same.  It is the familiar day-to-day indulgences that present the greatest danger.  My people spend their time and money entertaining themselves rather than caring for others.  Their lives are filled with movies, television, social media, noise, books, media, politics, sports, hobbies, fitness, finance, business, home, and every other distraction the world has to offer.  They know more about pop culture than they know about My word.  They know status updates, but forget to pray.  They can recount the record of their favorite team, but fail to learn of the One who created them and longs to be known by them.  Their lives revolve around having bigger and better, calling it stewardship, but they know little of sacrifice and service.  They thank Me for the blessings they hold securely in their hands, but blame the poor for their plight.  They believe that they are fully devoted, but are blind to the things that are hindering and blocking the flow of My life through theirs.
These are not sinful things in themselves, but when you allow something to control your attention, your time, and your perspective it has become a false god, and you have erected a pagan shrine.  The shrine is a very comfortable place to hang out and gives a sense of connection to the world around you.  That is part of its danger; it tethers you to the world and has the power to pull your heart from full devotion to Me without you realizing it.  
Let me search your heart and I will show you the things that ensnare you and hold you captive.  You will need to be ready to hear the truth and make whatever changes I show you.  Be assured that what I have for you is infinitely better than the comfort of your pagan shrine.  Your heart will be filled and satisfied by My very life, and you will find your most common days filled with purpose, prayer, and power as you live as My representative in your world.  That outflow may be quiet and peaceful or full of signs and wonders; let Me direct each day as I see fit.  Bring your heart to Me day by day, moment by moment to let Me clear away the debris and distractions so your focus remains on Me.  As the pagan shrines fall, the glory of My Temple will shine and go forth in healing and love for all.
Isaiah 58; Revelation 3:17; Isaiah 61:1-4; Isaiah 66:2; Psalm 139:23-24; Colossians 3:1-4;
Psalm 145:17-19

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