The Danger of Worshiping Idols
It was the will of the Lord, from the beginning of time, that He should be worshiped. When Adam and Eve disobeyed and ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree they were disobeying, thus they were failing to revere and honor God. (Genesis 3:1-13) When their sons, Cain and Able were of a working age, Cain became a farmer and Able tended to flocks, as early as this first family we see where God prescribed the way he wanted his creation to worship Him. He told them he wanted a sacrifice to be offered (Genesis 4:3-5).
From Cain all the way until the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, animal sacrifices played a crucial role in honoring God’s command to worship Him (Leviticus 4:1-3). Sacrificing an animal meant a person would have to give up something that was valuable to them. More importantly it also symbolized a need for a death to atone for one’s state of imperfections before God (Leviticus 5:5-10).
But just because God wanted sacrifices under the Patriarchal times, and under the Law of Moses, that did not give any reason for man to elevate the beasts to which they offered to be worshiped.
Idol worship has always been a transgression of God’s law. God stated, “Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am Jehovah your God” (Leviticus 19:4). God has always stated that he is far superior to anything that humankind builds with hands, for he says, “For in that day they shall cast away every man his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin” (Isaiah 31:7). There has always been a danger in the worshiping of idols. During the time of the Old Testament prophets there were a considerable number of “popular” idols that the Israelite people often very sadly chose to serve. There were Baal, and Molech and Astarte and Ashera. The worshiping of these idols was often connected with drunkenness, fornication and divination (Amos 2, Isaiah 2:6, Isaiah 3:2, 1st Kings 14:23).
While we do not see very many Christians today offering up sacrifices to Baal and Molech, there is still a modern danger in the realm of idolatry. Many people long for visual forms to express religious concepts. There is a danger in elevating a created symbol to a place on par with Christ.
There is also a danger in elevating anything above our love for Jesus. In the New Testament we see that idolatry relates not only to worshiping carved images, but also it is the act of giving to any human desire a precedence over God's will.
1st Corinthians 10:14 says, “Wherefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” Galatians 5:19-20 lists “idolatry” as a work “of the flesh”. This type of idolatry that we are to flee from includes more than just bowing to carved images, for Colossians 3:5 states, “Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Thus, any human desire that holds precedence over God’s will, in a sense, is idolatry. The reason why is because the worship of an individual has shifted from Holy worship to profane worship.
Every soul needs to be on guard against the danger of idolatry. It creeps into every person’s life. Jesus said on the sermon on the Mount, “no man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).
Possessions, desires, and works of the flesh can all be categorized as things of idol proportions. Hence, we need to be servants of God who do not try to serve two masters, but rather strive to serve Jesus Christ by loving Him and serving him. By: J.R. Rosado