So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only. (1 Sam. 7:4)

THURSDAY NIGHTS were sacred. My favorite TV program aired at 8:00 p.m., and I called “dibs” on the television. If I was out, I always returned home before the program started.

During the week, coworkers and I speculated about upcoming episodes. On Fridays we discussed how they ended. As the program’s season continued, I became obsessed. The time spent watching, discussing, and thinking about the program diverted my attention away from God.

In Samuel’s day, the Israelites faced a similar dilemma. Instead of concentrating solely on God, they spent part of their time worshiping Baal and Ashtoreth. Ceremonies and sacrifices to these idols took their focus off God. The more involved they became with these false gods, the less time they spent worshiping the one true God.

Idol worship happens in our world today. It is disguised in things like work, sports, money, shopping, and watching television. If we are not careful, we can allow these things to consume enormous amounts of time, energy, and resources. This robs God of our attention.

King Solomon learned this the hard way and advised in Proverbs 4:26, “Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.” In order to turn our hearts back to God, committing ourselves wholly unto Him, we must lay our idols at the foot of the cross.

Resolve to put away anything that keeps you from focusing on God.

Sheryl Baker is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She likes to sing, read, write, and bring hope and encouragement to others.