Exodus 20:2-5 I am the LORD your God, who rescued you out of the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me. you shall have no other gods before Me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image 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.
Leviticus 19:4 Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the LORD your God
Judges 10:14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you are in trouble
Psalms 16:4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips
Isaiah 45:20 Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.
Jonah 2:8 Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them
1 Corinthians 10:7, 14 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”. . . Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry
Galatians 4:8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.
Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry, and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like, I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 John 5:21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Revelation 9:20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood–idols that cannot see or hear or walk.
I knew I didn’t have wooden or metal objects that I loved, but what were some potential idols in my life? I had a couple favorite objects, but I didn’t worship them. They were mementos handed down from family members. Certainly, I would be disappointed to lose one of them–it was more an emotional attachment that a parent or another favorite family member had given me something, had it for years, and suddenly it was gone. But I didn’t pray to this object–a gold cross about an inch in length purchased by my parents when they went to Germany to see friends from their time living there in the 1950’s. They left me and my siblings with relatives for that week, then returned with small gifts for each of us on their return. Mine was this beautiful, but simple gold cross. I had that cross for almost 30 years and lost it a couple of months after my mother’s passing. I think it hurt more that it was one of the most precious memories and gifts I had ever received from my parents, and now both were gone. But I never thought the cross had special powers or could direct my path or answer prayers.
I truly have a difficult time understanding those who create something out of metal or wood, then attribute it to have abilities to help you. You created the thing. How could it then have any powers to help you, to direct your steps, or answer prayers. I get lost with that and shake my head with the frequency that the Israelites and other peoples did have created idols and were seeking them for advice, answer to prayers and so forth. God repeatedly said “I AM the LoRD your God, and you will have no other gods before Me.” That seems clear to me.
But that is created idols. What about foods, gambling, drinking, and other behaviors where you have a subtle unease when you are partaking of the behavior or telling yourself you will just have 5 bites of a favorite food; or just one glass of wine; or you will just play 2 games of Blackjack or some other gaming thing, then leave. But the nudging, urging is there even though you have the inkling you should NOT be engaging, and then try to excuse it by giving yourself permission to “only do it for a couple minutes, or hands, or mouthfuls….
Jeffrey Curtis Poor wrote an article in Practical Faith, January 4, 2022 “We tend to think of idolatry as a sin of the past or something in eastern mysticism, idol worship is contained to those who look to little wooden trinkets, a golden calf, or other images of good for their needs. . . Since we don’t do those things, we assume we don’t have idols.”
His definition given in the article is “an idol is when something or someone becomes more important that God.”
For some that is food, money, work, and the others I have mentioned, but Mr. Poor starts his list off with IDENTITY. He states “Our identity might be one of the biggest idols worshiped today. We have largely abandoned who we are in Christ and placed our identity in other things.” His article goes on to list ten.
Then he references #1 as social media our position at work or school, our accomplishments in sports or educational achievements and so on.
#2 Money/Material Things We all need money to pay bills, to acquire needs and some desires, but by making money your goal and only thing you primarily care about achieving is wrong. With the speed of the way smart phones and other computers have improved since they were first available for normal people to purchase, if yours is a year old, it is considered OLD–get new, it’s on sale!!
#3 Jobs/Status People like to be associated with certain titles and looked at in admiration for a specific thing–doctor, lawyer, CEO, high ranking military officer, and on and on
#4 Physical Appearance Our culture pushes for more beauty products, and adjustments to change the face and/or body God gave you. Botox, freezing fat, having fat sucked out of areas, surgical procedures to help you lose weight.
#5 Entertainment Are the shows you watch blatantly violent? sexual? Would you care if your child or grandchild was watching it?
#6 Sex Porn, watching blatantly flirtatious behavior between two people who are married, but not to one another, bisexual relationships
#7 Comfort We love being comfortable–not too hot, not too cold, just right, not too soft, not too hard, just right, not too tart, not to sweet, just right. . .
#8 Smartphone Addiction Isn’t it amazing to go to a restaurant and the people at the table are not talking together–they each have a phone in their hands and are typing away. No communication between them (which, silly me, I would have thought was the purpose of the get-together.)
#9 Family/Children Mr. Poor admitted he hesitated before including this, but once reading his explanation–and he was very frank to state in his first sentence that families are blessings from God, but if we make our families’ achievements, their company, their accomplishments more important than the relationship we have with God, that is idol worship of them, and not honoring and worshiping God.
#10 Influence/Fame I still have difficulty reading how much a ball player, actor or even a ‘fired college football coach’ receives. Our priorities with many pay schedules are skewed, but in light of the number of homeless and hungry, this is a subject that can heat me up.
Anyway, I appreciate Mr. Poor’s take on modern day idols. I can say with all truth, I know God has blessed me. Thank You, God, for all your blessings to me and ‘mybellaviews.’