This morning I was making idols. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s okay. After all, I am a professional. Of course I am being facetious. I was actually making idols, but they are not idols to be worshipped, they’re idols to be destroyed. In an upcoming presentation, I am going to be speaking on the topic of idols, specifically three idols that seem to be at the root of all other idols.
Think about the things we are willing to do in the name of these three idols. Think about the lengths that people have gone to and the crimes that people have committed in the name of having control. Think about how many people have done heinous things just to get attention, just to feel significant and comfort, well that’s at the root of so many things I couldn’t begin to count them. Sometimes I think we in the church are too caught up in sin. We can identify it, especially in others, and we are quick to point it out. Often though, individual sins are the symptoms of a greater disease. Idolatry is at the root of every sin and it has been this way since the garden.
God told our first parents they could eat anything they wanted except the fruit of one tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God’s basic concept was if you love me, stay away from that one tree. Love me more than that fruit. They chose fruit over God. The chose sin over God. Anything we choose over God is actually god in our lives. It’s an idol. Stated more simply, an idol is anything that comes between us and God.
This passage is among the strongest on the subject of idolatry. It shows us the futility of it. Isaiah 44
All who make idols are nothing,
and the things they treasure are worthless.
Those who would speak up for them are blind;
they are ignorant, to their own shame.
10 Who shapes a god and casts an idol,
which can profit nothing?
11 People who do that will be put to shame;
such craftsmen are only human beings.
Let them all come together and take their stand;
they will be brought down to terror and shame.
12 The blacksmith takes a tool
and works with it in the coals;
he shapes an idol with hammers,
he forges it with the might of his arm.
He gets hungry and loses his strength;
he drinks no water and grows faint.
13 The carpenter measures with a line
and makes an outline with a marker;
he roughs it out with chisels
and marks it with compasses.
He shapes it in human form,
human form in all its glory,
that it may dwell in a shrine.
14 He cut down cedars,
or perhaps took a cypress or oak.
He let it grow among the trees of the forest,
or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow.
15 It is used as fuel for burning;
some of it he takes and warms himself,
he kindles a fire and bakes bread.
But he also fashions a god and worships it;
he makes an idol and bows down to it.
16 Half of the wood he burns in the fire;
over it he prepares his meal,
he roasts his meat and eats his fill.
He also warms himself and says,
“Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.”
17 From the rest he makes a god, his idol;
he bows down to it and worships.
He prays to it and says,
“Save me! You are my god!”
18 They know nothing, they understand nothing;
their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see,
and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
19 No one stops to think,
no one has the knowledge or understanding to say,
“Half of it I used for fuel;
I even baked bread over its coals,
I roasted meat and I ate.
Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left?
Shall I bow down to a block of wood?”
20 Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say,
“Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
We dare not get too caught up in the idea that idolatry is bowing down in front of a statue. It can be that, but it is usually far more subtle. Usually it’s as simple as choosing sin over God.
How would you illustrate this point?