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Warning Signs: Do Not Worship Idols

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It seems as though there are warning signs wherever we turn. We see them on food labels warning us of possible allergens; on traffic signs cautioning us about adverse road conditions; and on most products advising us against improper use. I once saw a sticker on a windshield visor that read, “Warning: Do not drive with sunshade in place!” Though we are inundated with warnings, the purpose of these warnings is for our protection—even the ones that seems like common sense.

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[Photo by Dennis Hill on Flickr.com]

In biblical times, God gave His people many warnings through His prophets. God sent the prophets because the rulers and people of Israel had been living in sin and disobedience. They became greedy and indulged in sexual immorality. They worshipped false gods and committed idolatry, which was a direct violation of the First and Second Commandment:

1.) You shall have no other gods before Me.

2.) You shall not make a carved image and bow down to it and worship it.

God sent each of the prophets in the Old Testament to warn the people of the consequences of their sin. The Lord wanted to protect His people from these consequences—such as pain, sorrow, and invasion from foreign kingdoms—and to restore their relationship with Him. Despite God’s warnings and compassion, they continued to sin and turn away from Him, which led to their captivity and enslavement by the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians.

Idol worship may seem like a thing of the past, but it’s still very prevalent today. Did you know that an idol is anything other than God that captures our heart, time, or commitment? Our idols today can be our career, money, entertainment, hobbies, sex, or relationships. They are the things we believe complete and define us. Yet God wants us to be defined by our love for and devotion to Him.

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[Photo by Marc Jacobs on Flickr.com]

So how do you know if you have an idol in your life? Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

What do I complain about the most?

What do I spend the majority of my time and money on?

What scares or worries me?

Where do I go for comfort when I am hurting?

What brings me the most joy?

Whose affirmation do I long for?

What am I not able to set down?

Perhaps you turn to food, alcohol, drugs, or pornography for comfort. Maybe you long for the affirmation of a loved one or spend most of your money on material things. Whatever you have placed your hope in—whatever consumes your thoughts—has probably become your idol. It has replaced God in your heart.

Now that you have determined whether or not you have an idol and have identified what it is, what can you do? You can start by asking the Lord to forgive you and to occupy first place in your life. God will not compete with anything else, for He alone is worthy of our devotion, honor, and praise. And when we give Him the rightful place in our heart, Psalm 29:11 says,

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

Though God’s messengers mainly warned Israel about idol worship and future judgment if they did not repent, the prophets also spoke of a coming Savior who would rescue His people. This Savior is the Messiah—Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, God’s one and only Son. God loves us so much that His sent His son to die on the cross for our sins, bring us back to Him, and to make us whole (John 3:16). He created us and is more than able to provide everything we need. We don’t need to look to the things of this world. But it’s a choice. We can choose to sin and rebel by looking for satisfaction elsewhere, or we can choose to obey God and worship Him alone. Which choice will you make today?

By Dudley Rutherford

Edited by Shauna Greco

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