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October 16, 2015, 2:05 PM

Personal Idolatry

This week we have come to the commandment dealing with idolatry. The bible is far from silent on the subject of idolatry. Perhaps, next to pride, idolatry is talked about in the harshest of terms. But when we consider that pride is simply self idolatry, it becomes clear that God has a zero tolerance level for idolatry. Our problem is not in understanding that God hates idolatry. Our problem usually lies in identifying our own idolatrous ways. 

In my studies this week, I found this paragraph very interesting. It is from the New American Commentary on Exodus:

Ancient people also believed in three categories of gods, all of which any individual was likely to differentiate by his or her own beliefs and worship: the personal god, the family god, and the national  god. For most Israelites at m 32) as their family god, but they would always have Yahweh as his national God. No Israelite, no matter how totally immersed in idolatry, would ever answer no to the question, “Do you believe in Yahweh?” But most, at most times in Israel’s history, would, sadly, see him only as a national god (the one who had brought them out of Egypt or the one to whom they would appeal in times of war). Their greater day-by-day loyalty in worship would be directed toward the various idols representing their various categories of gods.

I think that it is important to note that God was included in their idolatrous worship. No self respecting Israelite would have denied his belief in the one true God, or the importance of worshiping him. The LORD had his rightful place in their life and the nation as a whole. 

I think this parallels greatly with where we are as a people. On our one day mission trip earlier this month, almost no one turned down our offer to pray for them. Most people were willing to talk to us about God. Most even admitted to believing in God on some level. But, a very common answer was to express belief in God while also admitting that they did not follow him.

At the heart of understanding the 10 Commandments is understanding the very first statement. “I am the LORD your God”. It is a statement of relationship. It is a statement of His authority and position in our relationship with Him. When we allow other people, places, things or relationships to undermine his authority and position in our relationship, we cease to allow Him to be our God. We may proclaim Him as our National God, but we are worshiping at the feet of personal gods on a daily basis. 

What people or things are threatening your relationship with God by becoming family or personal gods?

What are you looking to as your personal authority other than God?

Will you repent of these areas as idolatry?

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