“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord Your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep my commandments.”
– Exodus 20:3-6
Additional reading: Isaiah 44:6-9,10-13,14-18,19-23
Even though God has said numerous times that He comes first and is a jealous God, the Israelites had a difficult time following those first couple of commandments. The Israelites were having problems with idols before God had given the Ten Commandments. When Moses came back down from the mountain, the Israelites were worshipping a golden calf because they didn’t know what had happened to Moses (Ex 32). That’s like us saying, “Jamie, make us a god who will go before us because we don’t know where Paulie went.” Now you may say that sounds ridiculous, but the Israelites have always been the perpetual prodigal children.
If you read the book of Kings, you’ll see how often the Israelites strayed from God. They had a couple of bad kings who did wrong in the eyes of the Lord, but then they would have a good king who tore down the idols and did good in the eyes of the Lord. That’s the beauty of God. He is constantly forgiving us and taking us back. In Ezekiel 14, we see that the Israelites were not only creating physical idols, but they were setting up idols in their hearts. This created a stumbling block that hindered their relationship with God. Now you may say, “I don’t worship those actual idols,” but we do have other gods.
What “gods” have you shaped for yourself?
When we engage in idolatry we are committing adultery in our relationship with God. God had the prophet Hosea marry a harlot to show him how God feels when we stray from our relationship with Him. God hates it, but He still takes us back. During Biblical times, adultery was one of the greatest sins you could commit. The law dictated that this woman be stoned to death. But Jesus, who was a radical crazy guy (according to the Pharisees) did something unexpected. He simply said go forth and sin no more. Jesus extended grace to this woman and forgave her.
When we engage in idolatry we are committing adultery in our relationship with God.
There is a plus side: we can go back! Jesus has taken the burden for us and now we have grace because of it. If we apply Matthew 6:33 and Luke 10:27, we can overcome idolatry. We can also ask our Helper the Holy Spirit to help us rid ourselves of the idols in our lives.
Confession for today, based on Psalm 16: “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. Lord, You alone are my portion and my cup; You make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely, I have a delightful inheritance. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because You will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will You let Your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”
Love and nuggs,