You can learn a lot from your kids. Britton, our youngest child, brought home a sign from church a couple of months ago. The message was simple and plain…”You shall not make for yourself an idol.” At the bottom of the sign was a man who is bowing down- obviously paying homage to an object of earthly affection.
Britton’s lesson that day was about ancient people from the Bible who worshiped all sorts of gods. Fertility gods. Storm and harvest gods. Sea gods and hunting gods. Even the Israelites who were being led by Moses out of Egypt quickly deserted their teachings and faith to worship a “golden calf” (Exodus 32). They were tired of waiting on Moses to return from Mt. Sinai and decided to create a new object of worship. Needless to say, God wasn’t very happy with these impatient followers.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust them. Psalm 115: 4-8
I’m not much better. While I don’t practice the worship of pagan gods discussed in the Old and New Testament, I’m just as guilty about being impatient and getting distracted. Many things can serve as idols for me. If we aren’t careful, we can become quite caught up in chasing earthly pleasures instead of focusing on true worship.
So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an alter with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,” Acts 17: 22-31
We serve an all-powerful God. The creator and ruler of the entire universe.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. I Chronicles 16: 26
We have been given implicit instructions to keep focused.
Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I Corinthians 10: 14
No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Luke 16: 13
I explained to Britton that anything that hinders our pursuit of seeking God’s will and instruction for our lives is considered an idol. It can be Legos (as Britton brought up), college football season, the pursuit of that promotion at work or concern about a family relationship.
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” And he called the people to him and said to them, “hear and understand….” Matthew 15: 8-10
What clouds your focus? What idols stand in your way of serving the living God? I easily recognize a few in own life- and I pray for self-awareness (and guidance from friends) to help me with those that I cannot clearly see.
Let’s all pray for help to remove the idols in our lives.
God bless you.