Friday, September 25 2020
What is idolatry and why does God hate it?
Idolatry is the worship of Idols. This is a huge topic in the Old Testament and there are many Hebrew names for idols and its derivatives. I have often heard Christians saying loving money is idolatry, but there are far more significant aspects to this topic. I could probably write a book about this as there is a lot written on the subject.
Idols: (taken from my beloved Youngs Analytical Concordance to the Bible (1982)
Basically, idols are identified as objects of terror, vanity, mighty one, a god, nought, a thing of nothing, horror, a cause of trembling, a figure, a cause of grief.
One fascinating description is "things rolled about or around" (big idols) In other words, this is a very bad idea but humans go there and love it. For some strange reason we as humans want to believe in something we can hold, feel an see. (A very bad idea in a pandemic as well as for spiritual growth)
Isaiah 57 is a good chapter to study this subject. Its heading in my version (New Living) is Idolatrous Worship Condemned
Here are some of its content: It begins with a call to those who are worshipping: "Come here you witches' offspring, offspring of adulturers and prostitutes"
We need to understand the spiritual connotation here that the people of God have turned away and are actually making love with idols, turning themselves into the above.
Verse 2 is interesting as it says, "Whom do you mock? Making faces and sticking out your tongues?" Here I get the impression that these faces are the idol carvings made by the people and of course, a representative of their own makers who are mocking God. So, when we see these terrifying carvings (some found recently in Iraq) we see a carving by people of something they wish to relate with and to. On purpose these carvings are made and depict the idea the carver has of their own God. A monster who will guard their temple and who might live inside and terrify those who dare enter within.
Today we admire the artisans who carved these idols but must remind ourselves that these are made of rock, wood or other natural materials and are formed by a person or persons with instruction from their designers for a purpose. Today we can say how extraordinary these are but they are a relec to history and the people who lived in that place at that time. Likely they worshipped this carving that has tumbled down from its high position. It seems absurd to us today that someone would worship a piece of stone or great carving, but that is a very likely idea. The people in this passage are the Israelites who the Lord says, " worship your idols with great passion" and we know what that sounds like, don't we. They also do these things in secret (Read Ezekiel Chapter 8:9,10, 15, 16... for more strange ideas people had) "...I saw the walls engraved with crawling insects and detestible creatures... I also saw the various idols (round things literally dung or cow pads) worshipped by the people of Israel. Including Tammuz (God of Syrian Phonician idol, Adonis in Greece, and the sun. ) Everything from cow pads to engravings of strange looking people-animals.
This is a cow patty or dung and the Queen of Heaven from Wikipedia. Note the sun, horns, arrows, wings, lion, faces. We can see that the Israelites went from bad to worse, carvings to cow patties, how low could they go? If we think about God, the creator of all things, He had no option but to destroy not just the images but the people who were in love with their own works of worship. In Ezekiel, 10, we see that God (the Lord Almighty) lifted off and removed himself from their temple. (Ez 9) If we consider this whole scenario, the people had grasped at idols for their power and living, and of course, it failed them absolutely. For us, the lesson is to put God (Jesus) first in our lives as He has revealed himself as real, living and willing to help humans when they ask, seek and knock at His door. We must be careful not to allow strange things to take our minds into some place where we ought not to be. We are all still human, but with the knowledge of hindsight and history, we can evade a disaster in our own lives.
I guess the moral of the story is, don't worship anything that is visible to the naked eye! Worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth Jesus said. It's a jolly good idea. God misses out and we miss out even more as we will not find the way to Heaven by going frantic about cow poos, or any poo, or carvings, big or small, bowing down to them. Not even a cat! Bad idea. Cow pattie from Google search.