Reading for today: Exodus 20:3-6, Deuteronomy 18:9-13 and Ephesians 5:3-5.
The Ephesians passage is “ 3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes – these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Excerpts and paraphrased from the book.
Idolatry is trust in anything that is not God. Since humans were deceived in the garden, God has been vehemently opposed to idolatry since He recognizes its destructive power. God wants our minds and spirits (we could say our Spirit and Soul) to be in communication with Him. He alone is sufficient to provide the knowledge, wisdom and protection we need. To idolize anything else is divisive and leads to the destruction of personal integrity and social cohesiveness. Any idol or image of God we make diminishes our understanding of God and our identity as His image.
Modern day idolatry: modern man still worships objects (not so much graven images though that does continue and may be growing as a problem) but more so we worship money, possessions, personal attractiveness or power, many types of pleasure, sports, certain forms of technology and psychological stimulants. (and depressants I would add) These do not give us life (in fact lead to death) and pull us away from worshipping the one true God. They cannot give us LIFE, yet we feel we cannot live without them!
Paul, in the Ephesians passage talks about greed as a form of idolatry. These are highly deceptive and are based on the false assumption that these things can satisfy the deep desires of the human heart. God forbids greed vehemently because it is destructive and leads to despair, corruption and violence.
The occult: magic, sorcery, omens and curses (Deut 18) Occult practices are a search for power – power over other people, over nature or in the spiritual realm. They are based on the false assumption that living things (aside from humans) and non-living things in nature possess spiritual power. This is in contradiction to what Genesis reveals which is that only humans are imbued with a spirit. To attempt to manipulate spiritual powers, energy fields, or life force of other people or objects in nature is disobedient to God. Our trust is to be only in Him.
People and nations who engage in occult practices suffer from dissension, conflict, lack of trust and the inability to work together for the common good. The practices are a sign of rebellion against God, who desires to being unity and blessing to all people.
Question to consider:
- Why is God so opposed to idolatry?
- What are the idols in the culture in which you live?
- What does idolatry do to us?
- What might be idols in your own life?
- How can we protect our children from involvement in occult practices?