One of the most basic tenants of the Christian faith is given in the First Commandment the Lord gave to Moses, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3) If that one command were the only thing any of us would ever follow and never depart from, our entire lives would be transformed! Of course, none of us likes to think that we might have any other gods before the Lord- He is the Lord! He is worthy of all honor, power and praise! He is filled with mercy, grace, justice, righteousness, compassion and love. We sing about Him all the time! We read books about Him, listen to sermons and meditate on Him and His ways, His statutes, His mighty acts. We love You, Lord!
And yet? Without realizing it, and without ever intending to, each of us, at one time or another, slips into idolatry. Idolatry is the most sneaky, subtle and subversive spiritual disease and the most destructive to the spirit because it is a condition of the heart where the Lord does not hold the primary position. Most of us never stop to examine our lives and our spiritual condition long enough to evaluate if idolatry is at the root of the issues that plague us or to see if we’re worshipping something other than the Lord. Why? Because we love the Lord so much, it’s almost impossible to imagine that idolatry might be the root of the problem!
Psalm 135: 15-18 (and Psalm 115:2-8) says, “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear; neither is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.”
Most of us don’t have actual idols set up in our homes, but the “work of men’s hands” isn’t just a carved statue. Your career or business, your reputation, connections or social status, your family, marriage or relationships, your personal wealth, your savings account, your good deeds, your ministry – are all “works of men’s hands” that we build and then rely on when hard times come instead of turning first to the Lord. That is idolatry. No, it’s not the kind of idolatry that means you’re not a true Christian! Idolatry in the life of a Christian is when we turn away from God things and to worship and lean on the good things you’ve built to sustain you, support you and see you through. Sound familiar? I’ve been there too!
Idolatry in the life of a Christian is when we turn away from *God* things and to worship and lean on the *good* things you’ve built to sustain you, support you and see you through
The “idols of the nations” are the things the world worships- the things the world places their trust in. They appeal to their gods of financial security. They cry out. They look to money for help. But their god cannot answer because their god has no ears and cannot hear. They bring their needs to their god of friendships, connections and relationships and plead their case. They invest their attention, and adoration, sacrificing their time and efforts, bringing their good works before their gods, but their gods cannot see the offerings and sacrifices nor the acts of worship because their god has no eyes. The world turns to the gods of philosophy, self, ideas, politics, spirituality and knowledge seeking wisdom and advice, hoping to find direction and purpose and strength, but their gods have no mouths and cannot speak.
Where are you in your life right now? To whom are you turning for help? If it’s not the Lord, first and always first every time problems arise (or when the same one presents itself again and again!) the root of why you’re still struggling may be that you’re worshipping something or someone else without realizing it.
Thought for today
“There is no breath in their mouth”, the Psalmist wrote. Only the breath of God can breathe life into something that has died or create life where life did not exist, as God did with Adam. (Genesis 2:7) The gods of this world have no life and therefore cannot breathe life into your dead marriage, or bring the hopes and dreams you once had back into existence or create opportunities and speak a word in season to your weary soul or heal your body or mind. Only the living God can breathe into a dying body and heal it. Only the living God can speak, hear, and see. Why? “For the life of all flesh is in the blood.” (Lev. 17:11)
Jesus Christ bought you with His precious blood. (Ephesians 2:13) That is why you have LIVING hope!! (1 Peter 1:3) “For you know that you were not redeemed from your vain way of life inherited from your fathers with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19) The only true and living God, the everlasting King, (Jeremiah 10:10) the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God (1 Tim. 1:17) is actually ALIVE, breathing, seeing, hearing, moving, speaking. You already know that, but do you know it?