We see all the flavours of idolatry in our world: idolatry of self, nature, ideology, evil… you name it. Idolatry sets our hearts and minds on earthly things, sets itself against the cross of Christ, and loses sight of our citizenship in heaven where God is King and Saviour…
15 You saw no form of any kind the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, 16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. 19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. 20 But as for you, the Lord took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven.
God warned Israel against idols, which in ancient times were often images which were fashioned to look like animals or sun, moon, and stars. This continued into the New Testament as we see that God’s wrath is revealed against such wickedness. What wickedness?
The suppression of the truth of God. That’s what this is about. What is God’s truth? That God is the saviour of his people (whether Israel from Egypt or all humans from their sin) and we are the people of his inheritance. We are his children. That’s the truth.
Okay, so what’s the big deal with idol wickedness? Well, we see that God’s eternal power and divine nature are visible in creation. God’s love for us and action of saving us are visible in the Exodus from Egypt, which is a forerunner and predictor of the cross of Jesus.
In light of these truths, and in spite of these truths, we often turn to images and ‘mother’ earth and even our stomachs (putting our desires and priorities ahead of God’s) instead of serving him.
Idolatry happens any time we put something in between us and God to take his rightful place.
Today we have all the flavours: idolatry of self, nature, ideology, evil… you name it. Idolatry sets our hearts and minds on earthly things, sets itself against the cross of Christ, and loses sight of our citizenship in heaven.
What idols exist in your life? And are you willing to cast them aside to serve God and worship him only?