Lent Devotional: 2 Kings 17:6-18

by Jonathan Haefs

2 Kings 17:6-18 (click here)
And the people of Israel did secretly against the LORD their God things that were not right…

…They went after false idols and became false… (2 Kings 17:9a and 15b)

You are what you eat.

I heard that somewhere growing up, and I’m not even 100% certain what it’s supposed to mean. I guess it means something along the lines of “If you eat healthy, you’ll be healthy” and vice versa… and that makes sense as a general principle.

In other words, a more accurate version of the phrase would be “You’ll be like what you eat,” but that’s not as catchy. Still, we all get the point… what you put into your body will have a literal shaping effect on what your body becomes. How much more so with your soul?! For…

You are what you worship!

Now I don’t mean that if you worship a false god you become a false god any more than if you worship the one, true God you turn into God! That’s the equivalent of thinking if you eat apples you’ll turn into an apple. No. “You are what you worship” means something similar to “you are what you eat,” namely, that “You’ll be like what you worship.” What your soul consumes shapes you!

Worship has a shaping effect on the soul. If you worship wealth, it will shape all your wants, hopes and dreams. If you worship sex, it will control your pursuits, desires, and goals. If you worship ______________ (fill in the blank) it will shape your soul… the heart of who you are!

You are what you worship.

2 Kings 17 describes the horrible downfall of the nation of Israel, and it was all rooted in their worship. Verse 9 declares, “…They went after false idols and became false…”

They became what they went after. They valued what these false gods valued. They based life on what these false gods claimed life was all about. They consumed everything false… and they became false. Psalm 135:15-18, “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.” (see also Psalm 115:4-8 and Isaiah 44:9)

You are what you worship.

BUT… this doesn’t have to be bad news! For, we can pursue the one true God, through his Son Jesus Christ, by the power of his Holy Spirit. Through the Gospel, the triune God has made worshiping him possible as the only, ultimate satisfaction of our souls! It is the only thing that will shape our souls according to reality… that will shape us truly into what we were made to be, therefore bringing satisfaction in him!

2 Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

So, let us worship the only one who is real, true, and beautiful! Let us worship the only one who is great, good, and glorious! Let us worship the only God, beside whom there is no other! Let us worship the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… for…

You are what you worship!

*All previous devotionals may be found at 
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.