“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments (Exodus 20:54-6, KJ21).
There is a peculiar reality about idols; those that worship a particular idol do not find the idol of their worship peculiar. Typically they do not see or question either the faith entrusted to their idol as fallacy or the outcomes of their trusting in a particular idol being subject to real scrutiny. There is blindness in their awareness as to where they have anchored their faith and trust. People around them may see or not see the fallacy of trusting in any idol depending on the cultural significance and acceptance of idols but generally idols can be quite entrenched in individuals and groups.
When God gave Moses the commandment regarding graven images or idols, the cultures of the time created countless representative idols and worshiped them. From various animals to numerous deities in various forms, sexualities, and realms related to life, needs and provisions. We may not worship golden calves or speak of Asherah and we may even scoff and sneer at those that worship a visible and tangible idol while failing to see the idols in our own lives. We can hope and trust in many things that are much more of an illusion of substance than a physical idol.
Idolatry can include the worship of any of countless false gods – whether they are new or old. Idolatry can also be the adoration and obsession of such things as fame, technologies, relationships, books, our appearance, music, ourselves, nature, celebrities, money, materialism, mysticism, self-aggrandizement, power, politics, and countless other things that become gods in our lives thus taking us from the worship of God.
An idol can be anything that we come to love with a deep devotion which leads to worship and comes to fruition as adoration, homage and trust given to anything other than the Almighty Living God. Only God, our precious Savior and the Holy Spirit are worthy of our trust and worship. We must watch out for the idols that might be found in our lives!
For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens (Psalm 96:4-5, KJ21).