I remember the first time I heard of the show American Idol. Besides thinking the concept was dumb, I was a little offended by the name. Not sure if it was the bold declaration of making people idols we are to adore (aka worship – and surely that has happened with some of the finalists) or what. Turns out the show is fun to watch, especially the try-outs which are just plain embarrassing and very funny sometimes.
It is easy to identify the idols of foreign cultures. A little Buddha statue with an apple in front of his big tummy comes to mind. Those were rampant in the “Little Saigon” section of Orange County, CA and can be found in some Chinese restaurants throughout the country.
What are our American idols? We definitely worship people and the things they have. You have to think of worship as, “ascribing worth to something”. So, anything I give more worth to than God is an idol … by definition. So, what has more worth in my life than God does? That is an idol.
Martin Luther said, “The human heart is an idol-making factory.” He got it. There is a natural tendency to ascribe more worth (worship) to things in creation than the Creator. We need to examine our idol-making factory to see what we are producing!
Read: Deuteronomy 5:6-10
6 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
7 "You shall have no other gods before me.
8 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
New International Version
Notice how far God goes to make sure we do not give ourselves an “out” when it comes to making idols (v.8). It wasn’t enough to say you cannot make an idol out of “anything”, the command goes on to list all the realms of creation (heaven - a reference to the sky where planets and birds dwell – earth and sea). That pretty much covers it.
We are not to “bow down to them or worship them”. Clearly the idea of “bowing down” is to place ourselves under something or someone in worship. To show a kind of worshipful awe. This would not be the same as temporarily bowing before a person of dignity (a queen or president) but might include the worth we sometimes show to sports athletes or musicians (Hannah Montana, et al).
The reason: God is jealous (v.9). Some people are offended by this without good reason. What would my love toward my wife look like if she were gloating over another guy and it had no effect on me? If my wife could flirt with someone else and it not make me jealous that would say a lot about my love! God’s love for us is such that he wants us to love him back and exclusively.
Those that pursue idols “hate” God (v.9) and bring punishment on their children for 3-4 generations which includes great grandpa to grandson. Another way of looking at it is my choices have the ability to impact 3 more generations (my son’s son’s son). Wow, think through the impact of your life!
But those that shun idols “love” God (v.10) and bring blessing on their kids for 1,000 generations. The simple return for loving God is off the charts! The image of 1,000 generations is really a picture of full and complete blessing. The number is almost unfathomable and reveals the heart of a God that desires to bless. 4 generations vs. 1,000 means hope for idolaters. We are not judged so long that we cannot return and have hope for our families!
What do you give “worth” to? What makes you most excited in life? Are you a sports nut? Are you a “car enthusiast”? Are you into guns? Are you passionate about causes protecting animals? Are you into yourself? Are you addicted to anything (alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.)?
Think through the impact of this worthship. It goes all the way to your child’s child’s child. What kind of legacy are you leaving? What would your family say you most value? What would God say you most value? There are people yet unborn looking to you today.
Ask God to search your “idol-making factory” and see if there is something there that gets too much worth. If he reveals something, repent and start over with Him!
There is a 2 minute “Jiminy Glick in Lalawood” video that illustrates how superficial we are when it comes to Hollywood. Jiminy is Martin Short in a 400 lbs. body suit. I provide a link here for you with the warning that it is sarcasticly funny but has some PG-13 elements to it (not unlike what you watch on a regular basis anyway!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpbTo-3RiJU
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.