The Old Testament is full of idol worship. It goes back to Genesis and seems to be a constant theme.
When Jacob decided it was finally time to leave his swindling father-in-law, Rachel, one of Jacob’s wives, stole her father’s idols.
After the Israelites were delivered from Egypt they panicked because Moses had been gone up the mountain longer than they expected. They had Aaron cast a golden calf to worship. The irony there? Moses was receiving instructions directly from God with the now famous 10 commandments including one that specifically forbade worshipping idols.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the second commandment:
You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.— Deuteronomy 5:8-10
I’ve never understood the whole worshipping statues thing. Even when I was a little kid and was a long way from God I never saw any special power in objects or things.
The whole idea of bowing down before a statue of some sort like they did over and over again in the Old Testament and believing it had some special power over me never made sense. So I didn’t have an idolatry problem, right?
Idol = False Image
In it’s simplest form an idol is just a false image. Whenever we have a false understanding of the character and nature of God then we are actually worshipping a false god and are in fact engaging in idolatry.
Think about that for a moment.
If your understanding of who God is doesn’t line up with who Jesus revealed the Father to actually be then you are actually worshipping an idol. You are engaging in idol worship.
Religion Is Perfect Cover For Idol Worship
Religion is all about making idols, creating false images of who God really is and getting people to worship that false image.
Think about the folks who “protest” at military funerals because “God hates homosexuals.” They’ve completely missed the fact that sin is not the issue anymore. They are stuck in an Old Testament view of God before the cross and don’t see that Jesus paid the price for the sins of the whole world.
They are practicing idol worship.
My wife grew up believing in an angry God who was constantly watching for her every mistake so he could punish her. She thought of God as carrying a big stick and was just waiting to smack her when she messed up.
She was practicing idol worship.
When I became a believer I bought into hard core Calvinism and thought God arbitrarily did things. To my understanding everything that happened, good and evil, was completely within God’s will because he was sovereign and “in control.” There was no way I could have any part in any of it because if I had to do anything then God’s power was somehow diminished.
I was practicing idol worship. (Later I learned about the true sovereignty of God.)
And that’s true for many, many Christians. The God they are worshipping is not the same God that Jesus talked about in the Gospels.
How about you?
Jesus said we must worship God in spirit and in truth. Are you worshipping God as he really is?
Or are you practicing idol worship too?