“Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.”
One of the common sins of the Old Testament was idolatry. Honestly, it’s hard for me to relate to some of those stories, like when the Israelites made a golden calf and decided to worship it instead of God. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I don’t think I’d ever really be tempted to worship a chunk of metal. The truth is, though, that I’m a lot more like the Israelites than I think. I may think that their particular flavor of idolatry seems strange, but that’s just because the context of our lives is different.
In their time, and in the surround cultures, idol worship was very common. As the only nation with no idol for their god, it certainly would have been tempting to make one and be like everyone else. It’s exactly the same way that we today worship the idols of the world around us. Our idols may not be golden statues, but their idols nonetheless. Some of the idols of our time include, but are certainly not limited to, sex, money, status, career, and power. Our idols are any of the things in our life that we put before God. Anything that we choose instead of him. Anything that we place our trust in other than him. Anything that gives us hope apart from him. Those things are idols.
It may be a car. It may be a job. It may just be fitting in with the in-crowd. It can be anything. And it doesn’t matter if it’s not a golden statue, it’s idolatry just as severely as it was with the Israelites. The truth is, nothing deserves to have the same standing in our lives as God, not even our families, as much as that may seem sad or difficult. God is the only person or thing in our lives that is or ever will be worthy of our praise, the only thing worthy of committing our lives to.
Take a moment to reflect. How much time in one week do you spend intentionally investing in your relationship with God? You can include time spent in prayer, reading and meditating on scripture, at church, volunteering, etc. Now, what are the other things in your life that take up most of your time? Add those up, how much time are you spending on them? Which one of these gets more of your attention, more of your devotion?
Time isn’t the only measure of devotion, of course, and just because you spend more time at work than you do praying doesn’t mean it’s an idol. It’s just something to think about. How much do you invest in things other than God, and how much do you invest in Him? The answer should always be heavily weighted toward God.
Help me to identify the idols in my life. Show me what things are standing in the way of truly worshipping you as the only god in my life. Help me to set my eyes on you and you alone, no other gods or idols. I love you, God, and I want to worship you fully and truly.
In Jesus’ Name,