While attending a conference in Nashville, my husband and I decided to use some free time to visit the city’s replica of the Parthenon—the temple of the Greek goddess Athena. While the artwork inspired awe, we couldn’t shake the hollow and cold feeling that settled on us when we entered. Towering over 40 feet high, the gilded statue of Athena was the all-consuming focal point of the main room. My heart became heavy as I thought of the multitudes who had once knelt before the real statue.
The temptation of idolatry exists within each of us. We struggle with the desire to create a god who serves us versus a calling to be a people who serve God. In the days of the golden calf, Israel’s idolatry was not simply an outright rejection of Yahweh. Rather, they had wrongly tried to make an image of God Himself (Exodus 32:4-6).
Generations later, King Jeroboam made the fateful decision to direct where the people would worship. His pride led the people into a time of spiritual captivity. During King Manasseh’s reign, Judah worshiped in the right city, but they allowed the surrounding culture to shape what they were worshiping. Manasseh actually placed pagan altars and an idol in God’s holy temple (2 Chronicles 33:7-9). Talk about the wrong focus!
Consider the following facts about God in order to avoid worshiping a god of your own making:
• He alone is worthy of our worship (Habakkuk 2:18-20).
• We do not define Him; He defines us (Romans 1:21-23).
• He is completely sovereign; any lesser view is manmade (Isaiah 45:9).
Call out to God today and ask Him to reveal the idols in your heart. A pure heart will lead to your pure worship of Him.
You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods (Exodus 20:5).
How have you tried to define God in wrongful ways? What areas of your life have you not submitted to His control?