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Israel had been dedicated to the glory and service of Almighty God.
The nation had been established in covenant with the Living God, beginning with the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The covenant was reaffirmed through Moses at Mount Sinai and the giving of the Ten Commandments and the tabernacle worship.
The covenant was again reaffirmed by Joshua when the Israelites had entered the land and he called them to account:
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV).
Approximately 500 years later, the twelves tribes of Israel were divided into northern and southern kingdoms.
The northern ten tribes were being led by a king named Ahab.
He was married to a Gentile wife from Phoenicia, named Jezebel. Her father was the king of Tyre and Sidon.
The wedding of Ahab and Jezebel was the culmination of a national alliance Ahab’s father had arranged between the northern ten tribes and Tyre and Sidon.
What to Do When a Culture Turns Pagan
The Phoenician culture in which Jezebel had been raised worshipped the idol Baal, the god of storms and the god of fertility.
He was often referred to as “the lord of heaven and earth.”
The cult animal of Baal worship was the bull, a signification of fertility.
The prophets of Israel had stood against Baal worship from the time Israel had entered the promise land.
Now the first lady of the northern ten tribes openly practiced Baal worship and boldly brought to the capitol city of the northern tribes 450 prophets of Baal and fed them every day at the palace.
Jezebel was also the Princess of Astarte.
Her father had formerly been the priest of Astarte, also known as Astaroth, and called Asherah in the Holy Scriptures.
Astarte was the goddess of sex and war.
Jezebel brought four hundred prophets of this female deity into Israel and fed them at the palace every day.
The introduction of Baal and Astarte into the Israelite culture brought systemic contradiction and incongruence to a culture that was built upon the worship of Almighty God and was guided by His Holy Word.
The introduction of worship to these idols disgraced the sanctity of human life through child sacrifice.
The marriage covenant was defiled; moral purity was redefined as the culture became more and more sexualized and same-sex relationships were introduced and honored in the temple worship.
The loss of clear moral direction in the culture greatly increased violence and murder.
Incongruence was magnified as the new pagan culture demanded tolerance from the Israelite culture and the prophets of YHWH – Almighty God.
Tolerance demanded acceptance of many ways to God.
Almighty God declared in the Ten Commandments, “You will have no other gods before Me.”
Many of the Israelites were confused by the cultural contradiction and most of the Israelite prophets could not and would not embrace pluralism and the culture of Baal and Astarte.
Jezebel began killing the prophets of God. No wonder the Bible says, “Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (1Kings 16:33 NKJV).
It was into this sexualized culture of violence, murder, child sacrifice, same-sex relationships God sent one of His most powerful prophets.
He appears on the scene suddenly, with no formal introduction.
He simply stepped into the culture and prophesied to the king, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years except at my word.” Three and half years later the prophet again meets the king. King Ahab’s first words, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” The prophet answers, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals” (1Kings 18:17-18 NKJV).
It does not take a rocket scientist to perceive the United States of America has experienced the same cultural contradiction and incongruence.
Founded in covenant with Almighty God by the Pilgrims through the Mayflower Compact, the culture and leadership of this nation was founded upon the Holy Scriptures.
Starting the in 1960’s, led by atheistic and agnostic men and women dedicated to the post-modern philosophy combined with the feminist movement, God was slowly and systemically removed from the American culture.
He was replaced by the same pagan sexualized culture as Baal and Astarte.
Post-modernism has thrown absolute moral values to the ground.
Pro-abortion supporters legalized child sacrifice. Feminism and the #metoo movement opened the gateway to the spirit of Astarte.
The LGBTQ agenda has created unimaginable incongruence as 2% of the population is dictating to the vast majority what will and will not be accepted.
What is the role of the church in this pagan sexualized culture?
The Church must be to the culture of the second millennium what Elijah was to the northern ten tribes in the ninth century BC.
The Church must boldly stand against the politically correct agenda and teach the absolute truth without compromise or fear of reprisal.
Into this confused and distorted post-modern culture, the Church must be a bastion of truth.
She must teach and preach absolute truth and absolute moral values.
The Church must model those values by living consistent pure lives of holiness.
The Church must expose the inefficacy of the pagan deities by bringing the authentic power of the Almighty God.
That will only happen when the pastors humbly and passionately see the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Like the prophet Elijah, pastors must rebuild the altar of Almighty God and then place an acceptable sacrifice upon it.
The Apostle Paul explained the only acceptable sacrifice in Romans 12:1-2.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
A pagan culture must be confronted by the ministry of a vibrant life-giving Church.