We know that we have been redeemed to glorify Yahweh, but we can never truly glorify God while having idols in our lives, in our hearts; that is the reason for our theme “Flee from idolatry.” Today, we will not necessarily see the idols, but it is through mystical chains, secret formulas that idolatry hides even in what we call idols of the heart, such as: worship of self, money, success, etc.
We see through God’s Word that Yahweh is holy and He has never tolerated being shared with another god or something else in His place, which we know to be idolatry. By simple definition, we can say that idolatry is the worship of strange gods.
Appearing early in history, after the flood, idolatry was already practiced by Abraham’s ancestors. His father was an idolater, as recalled by Joshua in his last words. Jacob had in his household strange gods called “teraphim” which were considered protectors of the home. Idolatry is also the fact of admiring someone or something boundlessly so that God takes second place in your life and heart, which becomes pure idolatry.
3 "You shall have no other gods before Me.
4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
5 "You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
In the Ten Commandments that God gave to Israel, He begins by showing us that He is the one and only God whom we must love and recognize. Idolatry is the first specific sin forbidden in the Ten Commandments and the one that gives rise to the most severe judgments of Yahweh.
Worship rendered to one Lord prevents any attempt to represent or distort Him by using something He created, because Yahweh demands total and exclusive devotion. He is a jealous God.
1. IDOLATRY IN OUR LIFE
Idolatry in our life has serious consequences affecting all areas of life. It restrains the power of God from manifesting in the life of a Christian. On the other hand, doing away with idolatry multiplies exponentially the power of God in our lives.
The Word of God in 1 Samuel 15:22-23 clearly tells us that Yahweh finds no joy in the person offering Him the sacrifices of fools but in the one that obeys His Word. Disobedience to the Word of God is reprehensible before God as divination, which is to use evil spirits to prophesy (by pretending to be under the influence of the spirits of the dead, of forces, of powers of family witchcraft, or of fortune-tellers) of the devil’s plans for someone’s life, promising better things in the lives of people who live in disobedience to the Word of God. (These things are common among us in Africa due to poverty.)
Through these Scriptures, we see that Samuel stated that God desired obedience of the heart more than the ritual sacrifice of animals. The sacrificial system was never intended to replace obedience; it should have rather been its expression.
Saul should have understood that true worship is manifested through behavior and not sacrifices. He turned out to be an idolatrous worshiper of himself. The disobedience that he had just shown was as serious as divination (witchcraft) and idolatry.
2. IDOLATRY IN OUR SOCIETY (COUNTRY, CITY)
According to the Word of God, 2 Kings 21:3-7, we see that Hezekiah was one of the best kings of Judah because he worshipped the true God, and eliminated idolatry from the Kingdom. However, Manasseh, his son, did not follow in the footsteps of his father. Instead, he did the opposite.
The king was instructed by the Law of Moses to write a personal copy of the Scriptures and to use them to govern the people. The very first commandment in the Law of Moses was “You shall have no other gods before me.” The first and most fundamental commandment was completely abandoned by Manasseh. If you continue reading the story, you will see that he burned his son alive, as was common in the worship of the pagan gods. Today, you will not see a parent burn his son, but nowadays, parents sacrifice their children to magic, witchcraft, Free-masonry, for a promotion, a job, success, for a lot of money. This is common among us in Africa with the multifaceted crises in which we are living. Even many Christians are deceived in this area.
Manasseh brought more evil and pagan idols into the kingdom than the Gentiles did, and because of him, the kingdom was carried away into captivity. Idolatry in a high-ranking person can bring an entire nation to destruction.
3. IDOLATRY AMONG BELIEVERS IN THE CHURCH
We find in Acts 19:13-20 how idolatry was ingrained in the city of Ephesus. As long as there were believer magicians practicing idolatry in the church, it could never manifest the power of the holy spirit, but when they burned everything, choosing between the counterfeit and the real power from Yahweh, the logical outcome was: “So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.”
In our churches, we do not drive out the idolaters; instead, we guide them to repent of their works. Otherwise, they will lead or contaminate others with their abominable works.
1 Corinthians 10:7, 14:
7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, "THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY."
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.
As believers, let us not allow the blessings of God to overcome or take the place of God in your hearts! Be aware that they do not become an idol in your lives; know how to restrain them because the God we serve is a jealous God.
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
Those who wash their robes are those who are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb of God. In other words, also, they are those who put into practice the commandments of the Lord.
Let us flee from idolatry because it will save us from serious consequences in our own lives, that of our environment or society, and of the great family of God that we are a part.
God bless you!!!