“They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them. They have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” Exodus 32:8
It has been long since I contemplated on the issue of idol worship. And yet it ought to be on the forefront of our lives because this is the ultimate sin. It is the ultimate denial of God – a declaration that the creator of Heaven and Earth, the God of our forefathers and the God of Jesus Christ is not sufficient for our lives. It is a declaration that we are on our own in this universe.
But when we think about idol worship, what usually comes to mind is a carved item or an animal or something that is venerated and worshipped. Rarely do we imagine that we could very well be proclaimers of the true Gospel and believers in the living God but still be idol worshippers.
We worship our political leaders when we place ourselves at their mercy. So we depend on them to pay our bills, school fees, and other things. I have seen women camping in offices and homes of politicians for weeks on end to try and catch the attention of the leader.
We also worship our property, our money or even our children. Think of a parent who puts all his or her efforts into the education of their children with the hope that they will take care of them once they get a job. This child becomes a god to his or her parents. The parents usually fall into depression when things don’t go as they had hoped.
But the heartache in these examples – placing your hopes on a politician, money or even children – is caused by the fact that we cease looking up to God for our provision and instead focus on what our political leader or child can do for us. They are human and just like all humans; they can fail us one day.
God says in Exodus 20:3-5: “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. ‘You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, I’m a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me.”
I have seen very wealthy people die of sickness only for people to proclaim: “If money could save, this man could have lived forever.” The fact is that everything besides God is a created matter. It cannot guarantee you a future because every created thing is temporal. It is here today and tomorrow it is gone. So stocking your refrigerator and refusing to give some of your food to the hungry is idol worship. You want to be sure the food in your storage will last you until end month yet you are not sure about your being alive five minutes from now.
God hates that and he says idol worship is akin to hatred of Him. So he threatens to visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations. Why would you want your idolatry to be a curse to your children?
Return to the worship of the true God. Psalms 37:4-6 says: “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Yes! Whatever your heart desires shall be provided and given to you if you “delight” in the Lord. To delight in the Lord means trusting and placing all your hopes in Him. It is to declare with the Psalmist (28:7) that “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song will I praise him.”
Therefore, let us always watch out so we do not become idol worshippers without our knowledge. Even before God, ignorance is no defense. Be on your guard and stand firm against the devil’s strategies. God is willing to provide for our every need provided we worship Him and delight in Him alone.
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