Daily Archives: September 15, 2018

September 15: The Pain of Idolatry

Micah 1:1–3:12; Acts 13:13–14:7; Job 22:14–30

Idolatry causes pain. If this truth were present in our minds each time we placed something before God, we would make different decisions. Micah’s account of the sins of Samaria makes this fact painfully and dramatically clear:

“So I [Yahweh] will make Samaria as a heap of rubble in the field, a place for planting a vineyard. And I will pour down her stones into the valley and uncover her foundations. Then all her idols will be broken in pieces, and all her prostitution wages will be burned in the fire, and all her idols I will make a desolation. For from the wage of a prostitute she gathered them, and to the wage of a prostitute they will return. On account of this I will lament and wail. I will go about barefoot and naked. I will make a lamentation like the jackals, and a mourning ceremony like the ostriches” (Mic 1:6–8).

Throughout this section, God and the prophet’s voices intermingle, a common occurrence in prophetic literature. This device creates a sense of empathy, both for God’s perspective on idolatry and for the people’s pain as the consequences of their idolatry bear down on them. Micah’s position is one we should emulate. When we understand what God feels, we begin to see the world from His perspective. When we feel what others feel, we’re able to meet their needs and learn to love them as fully and radically as God loves us.

Micah’s depiction of idolatry—how God views it and what it does to us—should be a wake-up call. When God takes second place in our lives, we inflict pain on Him, ourselves, and others. We shove Him out of His rightful place and thus move ourselves out of relationship with Him. But when He is the focus of our lives, we have an opportunity to empathize with others and to love them—and our idols dissipate like smoke.

How are you combating idolatry in your life? How are you showing love to people who love idols?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

September 15 Developing Practical Righteousness

“Stand firm therefore … having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph. 6:14).

✧✧✧

Practical righteousness is moment-by-moment obedience to God.

We’ve seen the importance of putting on the breastplate of righteousness as protection against Satan’s attempts to pervert your thinking and emotions. But Scripture speaks of three kinds of righteousness: self-righteousness, imputed righteousness, and practical righteousness. Which did Paul have in mind in Ephesians 6:14?

Paul wasn’t speaking of self-righteousness because that is what the breastplate of righteousness is designed to protect you from. Self-righteousness deceives a person into thinking, “I can please God and reach Heaven on my own merit.” But Isaiah said, “All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment” (Isa. 64:6). Far from getting you to Heaven, self-righteousness will condemn you to eternal Hell because it rejects the merits of Christ’s atonement.

Similarly, Paul wasn’t speaking of imputed righteousness—the righteousness of Christ granted to every believer at the moment of salvation. This is also called “positional righteousness” because it results from your position or standing in Christ. Second Corinthians 5:21 says that God made Christ, “who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Every believer is clothed in the garment of Christ’s righteousness. You don’t put that on. It’s already yours in Christ.

Only practical righteousness remains—that which flows from obedience to God’s Word. Although in God’s eyes you are righteous in Christ, you must also pursue righteous behavior. In other words, your practice should match your position. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). John added that “the one who says he abides in [Christ] ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6).

As you learn to live in obedience to God’s Word, you’ll be protected by the breastplate of righteousness.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask the Spirit to help you search your heart and to reveal any self-righteous attitudes that might be making you vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Confess them, and then praise Christ for the true righteousness that is yours in Him.

For Further Study: Read Romans 3:10–23. What kind of righteousness did Paul describe here?[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 271). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?

Should Christians listen to secular music? From our 2017 National Conference, W. Robert Godfrey, Michael Horton, Stephen Nichols, and Derek Thomas weigh in on this question. When you have biblical and theological questions, just Ask.Ligonier.org.

Source: Should Christians Listen to Secular Music?

Militants Brought Chlorine Gas to Idlib to Stage Chemical Attack – Russian MoD

Terrorists from the Tahrir al-Sham group transported several barrels of chlorine gas to the village of Basankul, in Syria’s province of Idlib, to stage a false-flag chemical attack, according to a Saturday statement from the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation.

Source: Militants Brought Chlorine Gas to Idlib to Stage Chemical Attack – Russian MoD

‘Chlorine delivered’: Idlib militants ‘readying false flag attack’ in Syrian village – Russian MoD

Militants in Syria’s Idlib have transported several canisters containing chlorine to the village of Bsanqul, apparently preparing to stage a false flag chemical attack, the Russian Defense Ministry has said.

Source: ‘Chlorine delivered’: Idlib militants ‘readying false flag attack’ in Syrian village – Russian MoD