Exodus 23:24-25, Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
1 Thessalonians 1:9, For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
As I read the above passage in Exodus last night and the passage in 1 Thessalonians this morning, I was reminded of a very important truth. It’s a simple truth, yet, often a painful one. Every country and culture has their own set of idols in which the people serve. Some are easy to distinguish, some are not so easy.
IT’S ALWAYS EASIER TO SEE THE IDOLATRY IN ANOTHER CULTURE THAN THE IDOLATRY IN OUR OWN CULTURE. ALWAYS!
I was recently in Thailand, my wife and I have served in Laos and Cambodia, the idolatry there is so clear to me as an American Christian. Temples, priests, altars and idols are everywhere.
China is a different story!
You will seldom find temples, priests, altars, and idols in this country. Yet, this country is as idolatrous as Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. China’s idolatry just comes in different shapes and forms. A lot like our’s in the good old U.S.A. I like what one author noted:
“We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life. What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”
Christians and churches, if not careful, may find themselves worshipping someone or something other than “the living and true God.”
Every once in awhile, it would help if we would do a little self-examination in light of the scriptures:
- Is there anyone or anything that is keeping me from total devotion to the “living and true God”?
- Is there anyone or anything that fires me up more than I am “fired up” for the “living and true God”?
- Is there anyone or anything that keeps me from following the word and ways of the “living and true God”?
- Is there anyone or anything that is keeping me from following the “true and living God”-the Lord Jesus Christ-wherever He might lead me?
1 John 5:21, Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
John’s words above, are important for any age, including ours, and we may want to consider them, while, at the same time, keeping in mind what another author noted, “Old gods die hard. They hold on, they creep in, they quietly clutch at us. Perhaps when we meet Christ, the old gods fall silent for a while. But they regroup. They wait for their time, and they aim as high as ever. They want to rule our hearts again.”