I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. —Isaiah 42:8
God is glorious and His works are marvelous. There is no entity in heaven or in earth that even begins to compare to the majesty and power of the Lord God. He is due honor and glory and will not give that praise and honor to any other being or graven image. Only God can redeem mankind, and only God has the gift of eternal life to give.
The subject this quarter is on the topic of idolatry. The world has many religions in which people are bowing down and worshipping idols. There are many more people that are worshipping idols that are not hewn from a rock or formed by a silversmith. People are devoting themselves to the things of this world, and while most people would not want to acknowledge it, that is idolatry.
Pagans and false worshippers need to renounce their false gods and follow the one true God. Their homes need to be purged of all icons and symbols of idolatry, and the Word of God should have preeminence in their hearts. Many Christians would agree with this, but what about the other gods? What about the god of materialism and the god of nationalism? What about the god of self? What about the idol of church dogma and the idol of the pastors and prophets? Can we as Christians also recognize these as idolatrous practices?
What about how we spend our time? Is it possible that social media or sports could become idols to us? They are idols if we let them control our time and our lives revolve around them. If we are more devoted to them than to the worship of God, is that not idolatry? It is amazing that people can spend money and time on the things of this world so easily, but when it comes to the service of the Lord, there just is not enough money or enough time. Should this not stir us in our spirit?
It takes self-examination and a lot of honesty to admit that there might be things in life to which one has given one’s devotion in a way that is robbing God of the glory and position that only He should possess. We look at things from a limited, oftentimes selfish perspective in the flesh. May the Lord help us take a step back from our lives and practices and ask: “How does God see it?” What message are we sending to our Creator if we involve ourselves in idolatrous practices or mix with the idolatrous crowds in their revelry, all the time saying, “My heart is right.”
Marriage, like a relationship with God, is to be an exclusive relationship. What message would it send to my wife if I were to keep a picture on my desk of an old girlfriend and commemorate her birthday every year? Would it make a difference if I told my wife it was not in my heart? Is it any different with God? Lord, help us to rid ourselves of all idolatry and love God with all of our hearts.
Michael W. Smith