True Worship and Idolatry

“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” So begins the 106th Psalm as the Psalter rejoices in the goodness of God. This is worship in its purest form. The Psalter is obviously overflowing with praise and is compelled to lift up his praises to the object of his worship – the living God.

Every human being understands worship. We have been wired in such a way that makes us want to worship and adore. If we were to trace annals of history as far back as we could go, we would find this to be true in every people and every land. We love to worship, but the question always remains; what is being worshiped by the worshipper? There has never been a universal consensus as to what is the most appropriate source of our worship and far too often, worship has been directed towards man-made things. The prophet Isaiah describes such madness in saying, “As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays is with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple.” (Isaiah 40:19-20) The rich man can afford to make a flashy and impressive idol, while the poor man has to settle for a block of wood that will be formed into some sort of image. The point is clear; rich and poor both seek a worship experience and both foolishly believe something man-made will suffice. This scene has played out over and over throughout history and continues to this day. Let us not think that we are immune to the disease of idolatry. Today, we are just a little more refined in our approach to worship than the idolaters of Isaiah’s day.

The human heart has always leaned toward idolatry, which is why the first commandment God gave Moses speaks into that; “You shall have no other gods before me.” God created us to worship Him alone. The worship of anything but the One, True, God can only be described as idolatry. The Apostle describes the slippery slope of idolatry in the first chapter of Romans. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…..They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised.” (Romans 1:21-22, 25) The solution to this problem is easily discovered – find the idol and destroy it, smash it, get rid of it, you get the picture. Then replace your idol worship with One, True, God worship. So it is easy to describe what needs to be done, but the hard part is actually doing it. Some of the difficulty in destroying idols is in actually knowing what they are. Let me offer some help in this area: 1. Pray and ask God to reveal what these idols might be. 2. Get in the Word of God and feast on some spiritual food. 3. Ask yourself: what are the things that I look to in life for my joy and comfort that isn’t God? Chances are the answer to that question will reveal any idol worship in your life. To God be the glory!

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