I have been reading so much about idolatry in the Bible lately that I don’t think it can be by accident. If God wants us to sit up and take notice He will make sure we get the message loud and clear. Idolatry in Bible times was very easy to identify. People physically worshiped idols and mostly didn’t make a secret of it. In Genesis 31 Rachel had taken the household idols and her father, Laban, pursued Jacob and his whole family to find them. Rachel hid the idols and Laban went back home empty handed. Just look at the golden calf that Aaron sculpted in the desert when Moses took too long to come down from the mountain.
Exodus 32:19, So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses’ anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.
It didn’t matter what the reason was that Aaron had made the calf, the fact remains that the people worshipped it.
Exodus 20:1-6, And God spoke all these words, saying:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Matthew 22:36-40, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
In Ezekiel 8, God gives Ezekiel a vision of the secret idolatry that was going on in the temple in Jerusalem. He saw women mourning for the God Tammuz, men worshiping the sun at the door of the temple and seventy elders worshiping idols in a secret chamber. I don’t know whether this was symbolic or real. Either way it was and still is not acceptable to God to have any other Gods before Him. If we profess to love God we cannot have anything or anyone which is more important to us than Him. What can become more important than God if we aren’t physically worshiping idols? Our children, our spouse, our job or business? What about the church? We can become so involved in the church and different programs in the church that it actually becomes more important than God. What about our leisure time? I know if you work hard you feel that you deserve to have time to relax, but what if God asks you to do something for Him in that time? Would you be willing to do it? I’m not doing a guilt trip here, I’m just asking you to think about it.
Romans 2:3-4 (The Message), You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he’s such a nice God, he’d let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.
We must not be deceived into thinking that just because God isn’t consuming people with lightning bolts when they sin against Him that it’s okay to do whatever we like. God loves us so much that He was willing to give the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be saved. Are we willing to put Him first in our lives too?