“Put away your idols.”
I traveled to India several years ago for mission work. I loved the culture and the people. One of the interesting sights along our travels was how common statues of idols were.
India has hundreds of gods in Hinduism, and while we were driving or walking along, we would pass a little shrine with a statue of one of those gods.
As a person of the Western world, I don’t see shrines and polytheistic gods dotting the landscape.
Or maybe I do. Just because we may not have statues of gods on our streets or in temples, that doesn’t mean we don’t deal with idolatry.
What is an idol? An idol is worshipping the work of our own hands. Whether we make a physical idol or bow down to our own intellect and philosophy, we can participate in idolatry in a number of different ways.
The scripture is replete with examples of the people of God being told to get rid of the idols in their midst (Genesis 35:2, Joshua 24:23, Isaiah 31:7, Ezekiel 14:6).
In essence, it’s mentioned twice in the 10 Commandments: You shall have no other gods before me, and you shall make no graven images. Literally the first two.
From Jacob in Genesis to Ezekiel, hundreds of years later, the nation of Israel, Yahweh’s chosen people, the tribes he delivered and protected, continued to go back to idolatry. And God keeps calling the people back to himself.
Why is idolatry a big deal? First, because there is only one God, and to worship anything or anyone else is a lie.
Second, worshipping other gods has an effect on our behavior. In the scripture, idolatry always coincided with oppressing the poor, violence toward the innocent, and sexual immorality.
What are the idols the church should get rid of today? Here are seven.
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