Romans 1:24-25 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Paul clearly portrays the inevitable downward spiral into sin. First, people reject God; next, they make up their own ideas of what a god should be and do; then they fall into every kind of wickedness: greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. Finally, they grow to hate God and encourage others to do so. God does not cause this steady progression toward evil. Rather, when people reject him, he allows them to live as they choose. God gives them over to or permits them to experience the natural consequences of their sin. Once caught in the downward spiral, no one can pull himself or herself out. Sinners must trust Christ alone to deliver them from destruction.
This tendency to exchange the truth about God for a lie has happened since the very beginning of time. It happened in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3 when God told Adam and Eve that if they ate of the tree of the "Knowledge of Good and Evil" they would surely die. Those Words were from the Creator Himself. But, one of his creations, the serpent, came on the scene and begin to seduce Adam and Eve to exchange God's truth for a lie from the created one. They fell for it.
Another example of this is found in 2 Kings 18:4: "He (Hezekiah) removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan)." Where did the bronze serpent come from?
Numbers 21:8-9 And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live." (9) So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
So, God's people exchanged the truth about God, the Creator, to worship His blessings. The fiery serpent represented God's faithfulness, healing, and blessings. However, because the people took the Creator for granted, they exchanged worship of the Creator with worship of his creation. Unbelievable. Hezekiah had to destroy the fiery serpent because people were bringing offerings to it.
Let's look a little further: Exodus 32:2-6 So Aaron said to them, "Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me." (3) So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. (4) And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" (5) When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD." (6) And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
The rings of gold from their ears were the "spoils" from Egypt. Things that the Lord had blessed them with when they left Egypt. God had taken care of them, given them gifts, blessings because He loved them. Now, after Moses has been gone on the Mountain of the Lord for a very short time, God's people exchange the truth about God for a lie. Instead of worshipping the Creator, they make a god of their own taste and desire, and begin to worship a creation. Unbelievable!
How about another example?
Judges 8:27 "Gideon returned to his home in Ophrah and had the gold made into a statue, which the Israelites soon started worshiping. They became unfaithful to God, and even Gideon and his family were trapped into worshiping the statue."
Once again, what was used for this statue, were the "spoils" of blessings that God had given to His people. Now, instead of thankful to God for the blessings, they exchanged the truth about God for a lie. Instead of thanking the Creator, they worshipped His creation. Even Gideon was trapped into this way of thinking.
As I enjoy the blessed life that God is giving me here on this earth, how often do I think about His blessings more than I do Him? How often do I discuss His blessings more than I discuss Him? I could very easily fall for the lie and exchange the truth about God for a lie. I could very easily find myself worshipping the creation instead of the Creator.
The devil since the Garden of Eden, has been trying to get God's people to exchange the truth about God for a lie. He works hard to get us to do one of two things:
Either exchange the truth about God for a lie by turning our worship to the creation (blessings) instead of our Creator. Or,
Tempting us to exchange praise and thanksgiving that belongs to our Creator for the creation He has blessed us with, to complaining and whining about His blessings. Notice,
Numbers 21:5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food."
What "worthless food" are they talking about? The miraculous provision of manna that God rained from heaven every morning just for them. It kept them alive and well. Yet, they had become so used to it, they began to not only take it for granted, but called it "worthless." They exchanged the truth about God for a lie. They became thankless, whining, complaining spoiled brats.
Before I come down on them too hard, I need to look at my own life. How often do I fail to thank God for the blessings He has given me? Do I complain more than I praise? Do I whine because I don't have what the "Jones'" have? Do I gripe because the fridge doesn't have the food I am craving at this moment? Do I bellyache about my house, my family, my health, my country, my community, my church? When I do this, I am giving into the enemies temptation to exchange the truth about God for a lie. I need the Holy Spirit to help me to walk in the way that God would have be go.
I don't want to exchange the truth about God for a lie in either of these ways: worshipping the blessings that God has given me, or loathing, taking for granted the blessings God has given me.
"Lord, I am so sorry for the times I have worshipped Your creation by thinking about it more than I do You. I am also sorry for the times I have complained, whined and griped about the blessings You have poured into my life more than thank You for them. I am guilty so I confess these sins to You, and repent. Today, I start off giving You thanks for the blessings that You have blessed me with. But I also choose to not allow said blessings to become more important to me that You are to me. I will fight the enemies lie that I should exchange the truth about God for anything in this world. In Jesus' name, amen!"