Since Jesus has satisfied the justice of God (because He paid the penalty of sin in full by His death), why then should we take pleasure in disgusting ways of worship and bring disaster upon ourselves? Why should we bow down and worship or serve the idols or gods that are made of silver and gold—that are formed by human hands? These gods have mouths, but cannot speak, and eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear; they are not even able to breathe. They are lifted to shoulders and carried about and put in a place where they stand, unable to move from where they are. If any pray to them, they cannot answer or save them from disaster (Psalm 135:15-18; cf. Isaiah 46:6, 7).
Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, understood the danger of serving idols when he asked his household to get rid of their false gods before their return to “Bethel” (house of God). He believed that idols should have no place in his household. In fact he wanted nothing to divert his family’s spiritual focus, so he said to his family and to all his servants with him at “Shechem” (a district and ancient fortified city in the hill country of Ephraim in north-central Palestine) to get rid of the foreign gods in their possession, then purify themselves and put on clean clothes before they enter the house of the Lord (see Genesis 35:2-4).
Like Jacob, we too must get rid of those idols, those false and foreign gods that we have (whether it is the gods our ancestors worshiped in the past or the gods that we are worshipping today) and pledge our complete loyalty to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the Creator of the universe, who rules our life. As pointed out earlier, He is a holy God, and He tolerates no rivals.
Unless we remove these idols from our lives, they can ruin our faith; they can destroy our lives. Remember, an idol is anything we put before God, anything that could stand between us and God. They don’t necessarily have to be physical objects. They can be thoughts or desires. We should get rid of them before they get rid of us.
God is sovereign and in control, while at the same time He is close and personal. His love for us tolerates no partial loyalty or the rivalry of other gods or other objects of worship. If we claim to be His people and that we know Him, then, we must honor Him and serve Him sincerely and faithfully. As Joshua rightly advised, “If you are not willing to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve . . . as for my family and me, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
Joshua’s advice is helpful and clearly challenges us to think of the kind of relationship we have with God. If we claim that we have good relationship with God, that we truly worship the Lord, then, we must be sincere to examine ourselves with the following questions:
What idol(s) do we have in our life? What kind of idol(s) do we serve or worship? What is it that has taken God’s place in our heart?
It is easy for anyone to act like a religious person—that is, to go to Church and go along with what happens there, and go about his or her business. Many people go to Church; anyone can do it—with or without sincerity. But a person who creates substitutes for God and then treats them as if they were God is giving in to sinful human desires. Such a person is not sincerely serving God—he or she is serving an idol.
Sadly, many who go to Church still worship the creation rather than the Creator—God Himself (Romans 1:18-25). Even though they do not make statues they still worship man-made objects. Some participate in demonic activities and worship spiritual powers which are not from God. They practice sorcery, divination, witchcraft, and consult with mediums and psychics (see 1 Samuel 28:3-25; 2 Chronicles 33:6). Others revere their own spiritual experiences—they worship angels because they say they have had visions about this (Colossians 2:18).
To this day, many who go to Church still worship pictures or photos that they believe is Christ’s, not knowing that it is idolatry. As believers in Christ, we are warned to beware of idolatry (see Deuteronomy 4:15-17). Sadly, many still make the mistake of worshiping their pastors, the politicians, celebrities, and other impressive figures in our societies (Acts 10:25-26; 14:11-15).
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