Beady eyes. Plump, round belly. Maybe more than two arms. Face of a beast and feet hoofed like a horse. Carved from stone and rested atop a pedestal. When God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai and said, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3,4), this is the image that that pops into my mind. I picture the Israelites bowing before a golden calf, or maybe sacrificing at the altar of Baal, but invariably, the image of the false god being worshipped, at least in my mind, is similar to Buddha or the Hindu elephant-headed god, Ganesh.
I can remember very early in my faith thinking I had the Ten Commandments under wraps. I remember almost scoffing at the notion that I would ever be involved in any form of idolatry, that I would never be caught worshipping anything resembling a character from a comic strip. The idea that the Lord’s church would ever succumb to the temptation of idolatry was almost laughable. I have only recently begun to see the error of my ways.
You see, I believe that idolatry runs rampant in the church today. In fact, I believe that idolatry may be the biggest detriment facing the work of the church. Before you begin to argue with me, allow me to explain. I no longer believe that an idol has to be carved from stone to be worshipped. Football games, children’s school activities, our jobs, materialism…anything that comes between us and the one and true living God, qualifies as idolatry.
We bow before the god of Busy. We kneel to the throne of Tired. We sacrifice to the supreme Schedule. We fall down at the altar of Assignment. No, these things don’t wear horns or smell of incense, but they are gods nonetheless. They are gods that draw us from the true God. They are gods that mask themselves as the necessities of everyday life. And they’re slowly but surely destroying commitment and dedication within the church today.
To what gods are you bowing down? This week let’s realize who is truly worthy of our praise and devotion. “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” (I John 5:21)