While listening to Jeremiah the other day, I was struck by how often God said He was angry with Israel (both kingdoms) for prostituting themselves with other gods and burning incense to idols. I got to thinking how glad I am that don’t worship false gods or pay homage to false idols. But, then again…. If a god is anything that I believe in and trust to help me and an idol is anything I place an extremely high worth in, then maybe I do have some of those.
So what is the thing that I trust in to take of me? Me! My self, My abilities. My intelligence. And how’s that worked out for me so far? Pitifully bad I’m afraid. Oh, I do OK, I guess, but I not sure that I’d want to bet on me when push comes to shove…I tend to cut and run. What other things do I put on a pedestal? Or said another way, if I only had enough ____ I would be happy, set, content, etc. Money? Friends? Influence? Toys? All these and more. Of course it’s easy to see other peoples’ gods and idols. Fashion, sports, recreation and a hundred other things. But what about more cunning gods? Things like science, medicine, theology, philosophy.
I’m not saying any of these are bad or immoral, just that when I trust only in them to meet my needs or when I value them so high that they define me, then I have crossed into idolatry.
The true God will not share his throne with anyone. Either He is the source of my life and contentment or I’m on my own, I cant have a little of Him and a little of me.
“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Exodus 20:3-6 (NIV)
“But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim —for you shall not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God—
Exodus 34:13-14 (NASB)