We all have our Ashtareth!
(John MacDuff, "Brief Thoughts for the Followers of Jesus" 1855)
"This is my infirmity!" Psalm 77:10
The best of men — are but men at best! We all have many remaining corruptions — we are all encompassed with many infirmities. And what effect should the consideration of this humiliating but undoubted truth, produce? Ought it not, among other results, to excite in us a spirit of constant watchfulness?
We are frail creatures — ever liable to fall! And being exposed, in addition, to the wiles of our spiritual adversaries — our danger is considerably greater. It is on our indwelling corruptions that Satan works — and often, alas, with sad success!
In addition to our general infirmities, it is probable that there is some one, or more besetting sins — to which we are particularly liable; in which case it befits us to be doubly on our guard!
"If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts — then rid yourselves of the foreign gods — and the Ashtoreths; and commit yourselves to the Lord and serve Him only — and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines." 1 Samuel 7:3
Samuel exhorts them to rid themselves of the foreign gods — and the Ashtoreths. But was not Ashtareth simply one of the many idols — an idol like all the rest? Would not one specification, therefore, do for all? It appears not. And why? It was because Ashtareth was their favorite idol, after whom they were specially liable to go! So that while they were to put away all their foreign gods — they were to put away their Ashtoreths in particular.
And just so with us. We all have our Ashtareth, of whom, by reason of . . .
the temper of our minds,
or the constitution of our bodies,
or our circumstances in life —
we are in especial danger! And while we are to be on our guard against every sin — our spiritual forces must be mustered against this besetting sin with more than ordinary energy and decision. We are to "lay aside every weight — and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us — looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."
Compassed about, then, as we are, with infirmities — some of a more special, and others of a more general nature — we should continually be on our watch-tower! Let us never dream that we are free from danger; for when we imagine that there is the least danger — there may be the greatest!
Reader, remember therefore, and that continually, the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, "Watch and pray — lest you enter into temptation!"