It's a curious thing that God would give a king a great victory, only to have him bow down at the altar of the vanquished foes' idol. That's what one ancient king did. In the name of the God of Israel he conquered the enemy of his nation, then gave honor to the gods of the people those gods couldn't protect. (II Chronicles 25:14-15)
Some scholars point out that many in Israel viewed their God as just one of many gods, each of whom had their own little territories where their power was the greatest. The God of Israel, so they thought, had preeminence only in their little corner of the world, whereas Moloch or Chemosh would be the powers in their special neighborhoods. Because they accepted this little deception, it took no big leap in logic to "adopt" other gods in order to have a little insurance policy.
I am not about to go into Moab and bow down to Chemosh, but I must admit that I do have my own personal set of gods that I have accumulated just in case God is off sleeping somewhere when I might need him. Your god is what you look to for your security and support. You might look to the government, or your job, or your investment portfolio, or even yourself. If so, you might have an auxiliary god along with the God of Israel.
Your god is what you think about most of the time. I can profess my faith and trust in the true God, but I might be obsessed with money. I might spend my waking hours worshipping the gods of the National Football League. Or maybe I'm busy building a career or a reputation, or maybe I find myself navigating the internet or other places in search of the latest porn star.
Your god is the source of your values. Many people try to decide for themselves their own perception of right and wrong. Others look to "society" as the source of values.
By these measures most of us have more than one god in our lives.
Many years ago a prophet named Elijah challenged the people of Israel to choose between the God of their forefathers and Baal, the god of the Phoenicians. "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." (I Kings 18:21). Our idols today might not be made of wood and stone, but Elijah's advice is still valid.
Excerpted from The Sabbath
Morning Companion, October 8, 2005, by Lenny Cacchio.