Someone has said that a paradox is the truth standing on its head to attract attention. Christ used paradoxes often in His teaching as He did in almost any teaching method that we are aware of. Thus we have statements like, “He that findeth his life shall lose it and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 10:39) Like the parable, this was a technique employed often by the Master Teacher.
Whether paradoxes or parables—startling statements are made in the Old Testament that are so puzzling at first glance that they give us a great advantage to learn as much of the Will of God as possible. One that arrests our attention is found in II Kings 17:33 where the statement is made. “They feared Jehovah, and served their own gods.” They feared Jehovah.” There was no lack of their understanding that there was a God who had blessed them from the beginning. They knew of His power. They had such knowledge as to produce an obedient faith that could have had the power to save them. But the attraction of the gods of the people that Israel dwelt among had such a strong appeal that they allowed it to pull them away from service to Jehovah. So, they feared Jehovah, but served their own gods.
This inconsistency is such a great tragedy today. The number of folks in the U.S. today that know about God, know of His power, and know at least a part of His requirements for a dedicated life is large. They like to glory in their knowledge of God. But the lives they live are totally immoral and show little interest in God’s teaching. Not only do they live an immoral life, but also they draw young people down the same road of depravity.
A young woman who is known for her profligacy was quoted in the newspaper as saying “In spite of what people think and hear about me I am really a good person.” She was one who feared Jehovah, but served her own god.” And there seems to be little interest on her part to live a moral life.
Christ used this technique when he said in Luke 6:46, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?” These people were similar to the Israelites who “feared Jehovah but served their own gods.”
The tendency to do our own thing is such a difficult thing to overcome! It is so hard to submit our will to His will! Even Christ struggled to come to the point where He could say, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Consistency demands that we “fear the Lord and serve Him” with all our heart, mind, body and soul. But is that not what it takes?