Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. This is what the Lord says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter. Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” [Jeremiah 10:1-5]
Idolatry was the sin addressed in the 1st commandment, and like in ancient Israel, idolatry was a problem then and it continues to this day in contemporary society, although perhaps in different forms.
It has become more sophisticated in it’s appearance, yet it still remains the sin decreed by God in Exodus 20:2-5. It may no longer look like the graven images you might expect, but it has the same influence in the lives of those who fall prey to its perceived power.
The harm done by idolatry in whatever form is that it takes our focus off God and His sovereignty and shifts it to something worthless.
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. [Eph. 5:5]
Doesn’t seem to have a good outcome and is a very dangerous place.
But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’” [2 Chronicles 7:19-22]
Since ours is not so much a pagan (which is to say pre-Christian) society as it is a post-Christian one, the dangers are all the more serious. The forces of idolatry do not urge us to worship Zeus but rather use the language that for many centuries has been associated with the Christian church. Profound religious differences may on the surface appear trivial, and one who points to them runs the risk of being called a hair-splitter. Just as an observer in the seventh century before Christ would be hard-pressed to distinguish the altar of the Lord from one dedicated to Baal, so are we faced with similar confusion when devotees of the idol state use the language of Christian compassion in their evangelistic mission. [Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, pp. 322-323.]
Today the vacuum created by the attack on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture and the tradition of the Church has left the way open for a secular humanist mentality to pervade the life of many Christian people and a flood of idols to sweep into our lives.
The new goal in our society is happiness and satisfaction, not holiness. I’m not suggesting we not seek happiness as I believe we all deserve to be happy. It’s a matter of priorities. Whatever makes a person happy is what he or she is encouraged to pursue, and when given the choice between God’s will or our will, far too many Christians choose their own will.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33
Man Placed at the Center
The secular humanist call to fulfill oneself, to achieve individual happiness, to place one’s faith in the inevitability of human progress has a powerful hold on the minds of many Christians today. For many Christians, the desire for worldly happiness and success has become the driving force in their lives. God is important only when His dictates do not conflict with their selfish desires.
The displacement of the biblical faith that once informed Western society by the Enlightenment faith that is undermining it provides the unifying theme for the various idolatries that populate our society. When Jesus said that false Christ’s would come to lead people astray (Matt. 24:24), he did not mean there would be lunatics thinking they were he, but rather that messianic figures and movements demanding ultimate allegiance would deceive people into following idols. The practice of idolatry has serious consequences, which the prophets of Israel identified as oppression, injustice, and bloodshed. That is why the ascendancy of Enlightenment faith to a position of dominance in recent decades has brought the pathologies of the West to a state of virulence. [Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, pg. 262. ]
Christian Idolatry:The Worship Of Government
Sermon by Chuck Baldwin on Apr. 7, 2013
Once a great beacon of hope throughout the world, America has collectively sold herself to the idols of money and power. Americans (along with others around the world) have used that idolatry to finance their own shackles of slavery, as they have sold themselves to the forces of the antichrist moneychangers. Most recognize their slavery deep in their heart, but refuse to admit it, choosing instead to live a life of fantasy and make believe.
Millions of Americans look to Oprah Winfrey and her new age advisors for counsel about their lives as they reject the saving grace of God. In 2007, Winfrey began to endorse the new age self-help program, The Secret. The Secret claims that people can change their lives through positive thoughts, which will then cause vibrations that result in good things happening to them. This is nothing more than new age pseudoscience and psychologically damaging, as it trivializes important decisions and promotes a quick-fix material culture.
They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. [Isaiah 44:18]
Idolatry takes many forms but generally can be identified as anything that honors and reveres a creature or the creation in place of God. It can be anything that is more important than God or anything we may prioritize over God. It can be any value or principle that we substitute for God.
…they make idols for themselves to their own destruction. [Hosea 8:4]
What’s your idol?
King Solomon explored many of these things [Ecclesiastes 2] and concluded, “everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”
Whatever comes between you and the Lord in your daily living is your idol.
(Ex. 32:3-4; Ps 24:3-5; Isa. 44:15-17)