After one of the most powerful promises in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul warns us, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”
Could I be worshiping idols? Could you? Don’t think so … where do we run for pleasure, satisfaction, rescue, or escape? What are our “if only’s” and “I must’s”? Could there even be “good things” that have become idols in our lives?
How can we be sure that we don’t have false gods, things we’re depending on more than God Himself? Things that have become more important to us than they should?
God warned the nation of Israel over and over to repent and turn from idolatry. Their refusal to do so took them into captivity and cost them the loss of their land, their homes, their freedom, and often their families.
What about our nation? It’s obvious to anyone who understands spiritual truth that we are on a downhill slide morally, but is it possible that idolatry, magic, and witchcraft have gone on behind closed doors in the highest places in our nation?
Some of what I’ll be sharing today may seem far-fetched or even political, but that’s not my intention. We are called to be watchmen and when we see danger coming, the blood of others is on our hands if we refuse to sound the alarm. Continue reading →
Idols of the Heart: We are repeatedly warned, even in the New Testament, to avoid, in fact flee from, idolatry. But giant statues aren’t the only kind of idols. What “idols of the heart” do we worship that can hinder our relationships with God and with others?
In chapter 19 God displays His power and majesty so that the people will have no doubt that He is God and that Moses is His representative. The need for them to be outwardly clean was a visual representation of the inward cleanliness with which they were to approach a Holy God.
Then in chapter 20 God gives the Ten Commandments to the people Himself. Later He will write them on stone tablets.
The first command is “Have no other gods before me” (20.3). This, of course, was a prohibition against worshiping false gods of any kind. It was spoken to people in a culture where most nations believed in and worshiped many gods, polytheism.
The second was to “Make no images, no likenesses of anything in heaven or on earth” (20.4). They were not to make an image of anything that was in heaven (angels, God Himself, or people who had gone to heaven) or on earth (man, woman, animals, or anything else). This command did not forbid artistic expression, but forbids the use of these items as part of our worship.
Idols of the Heart
We must also guard against idols of the heart: things that are more important to us than God.
Ezekiel 14 says, “these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity” (v. 3).
Almost anything can become an idol—success, money, power, prestige, having a better home, children, or a spouse. When addressing their “idols of the heart” God told Ezekiel to tell the people:
“Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the LORD will answer him by Myself. I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the LORD'” (Ezek. 14:6-8).
Think about that phrase, “[he] puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity.” If you take something, even a good thing, and put it in front of your face, it’s hard to see Continue reading →
The Bible talks a lot about idols and idolatry, both in the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps you, like me, have often skimmed over those verses as only relevant to some foreign culture with temples and giant statutes.
But are statues of Buddha, Hindu gods, and other strange religions the only forms of idolatry?
In Ezekiel 14 God, speaking to the elders of Israel, said this:
¹ Now some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me.2 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 3 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and put before them that which causes them to stumble into iniquity. Should I let Myself be inquired of at all by them?
4 “Therefore speak to them, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Everyone of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him who comes, according to the multitude of his idols, 5 that I may seize the house of Israel by their heart, because they are all estranged from Me by their idols.”’
6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. 7 For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the Lord will answer him by Myself. 8 I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.
These were not carved statues. These idols were in their hearts, were causing them to stumble into sin, and separated them from God.
Sin does that. While those of us who belong to Him don’t lose our salvation. It puts a wall between us and Him and will hinder our prayers and our communion with Him.
Gospel Treason can help us uncover the idols we have in our hearts, idols we might not even recognize. Idols that are standing between us and our spiritual growth, between us and the marriage we want, between us and peace in other relationships. In short, causing chaos in our lives.
Brad does so through personal stories and a great deal of transparency. From the introduction:
My wife and I have been married for twenty-five years, but twenty years ago we were at war. There was no camouflage, there were no guns, and neither of us was crawling under barbed wire in our single-wide mobile home. But we both felt that we were constantly stepping on land mines in our relationship—putting out brushfires, running for cover, and dodging the bullets that our tongues fired back and forth. Our marriage had deteriorated into a battlefield, and we were opposing forces.
It’s summer and, hopefully time for a little more reading. So here are my thoughts about some specific books and reading in general.
I’ve been wanting to include more book reviews here on my blog and when I read Laura Connell’s excellent review of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters on her blogsite God’s Girl, I thought it was time to feature a few.
Then as I scanned down to the bottom of her blog to other posts, I spotted this one. I know I may step on some toes, possibly of some people I love and respect a great deal. And while I know good Christians can disagree, when I read Laura’s comments on Jesus Calling, she was saying what I’ve been saying about the book. So here is her review of Jesus Calling. Continue reading →