“Do not make an idol, any likeness that comes from out of heavens above nor that comes from out of the earth beneath nor from out of the waters beneath the land. Do not worship nor serve them because I, YHWH your Elohim is jealous in power, charging the iniquity of fathers against sons, against the third and fourth generations that hate Me, Showing favor to thousands of kin, those that love Me and guard My commands. – Deuteronomy 5:8-10, direct translation
What is idolatry? Is it straight forward or perhaps more insidious than most believe? An important video for Christian and non-believer alike who seek truth. (“The Idolatry Factor“)
Obedience to the Most High rather than man is not old fashioned thinking, but how YHWH sees rebellion against Him. To obey is better than sacrifice or prosperity. Rebelling against YHWH today is the same… iniquity and idolatry, except for the spin you might want to put on the truth of the matter. (“Trust YHWH, Not World Leaders“; “A Branch of the Vine through Trust“; “Knowing Where You Stand on YHWH’s Threshing Floor“)
Since the fall of mankind and the dawn of the world system of man, idolatry and confusion in the hearts of people has reigned. The original Law of YHWH was designed to be practical so that people could begin to see the nature of Father YHWH, as they bring His divine plan into their lives as a lifestyle that touches the core, the heart and mind of all that come to understanding. In this way, the character of YHWH is to be reflected in His people.
“You have no other mighty ones [gods] against My face. You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth” – Exodus 20:3-4, ISR98
By the time of the Messiah, most of the Jewish nation saw YHWH as a means to prosperity in this world and the next, which had completely adulterated their spiritual outlook. They thought that to obey every law was the way to earn YHWH’s protection from disaster and invasion. As a result, this legalism became an end to its self instead of the means to fulfill YHWH’s law of love. (Could you be doing this?) They had deceived themselves, and so does mankind today. (“Leaven of the Pharisees; Leaven of the World“; “The Importance of Practical Repentance“; “Condemnation, Dogs & Hogs“)
The old nation of Israel left Egypt, along with an assortment of banished residents. They had been exposed and influenced by many false gods. Foremost was the idea that many gods were necessary because each god represented a different aspect of life. This attitude promoted the idea that the worship of many gods was necessary to receive a greater amount of favor and prosperity. To many YHWH, Elohim of Hosts was just one more god to add to a personal list of gods. The same attitude is prevalent today, even among multitudes of professed devout Christians. Idolatry is a spiritual heart problem, a lack of belief and trust. (“Refining Your Heart“; “Healing Wounds That People Can’t See“; “Road of Truth“)
Today, as in times past, a disciple is bathed in the world. A disciple of the Messiah can allow many things to become personal gods. Money, fame, work, ethnicity, nationality, fear of worldly authorities, even family and pleasure, become personal gods when a disciple focuses on these causes for personal identity, meaning and security. These personal gods ultimately derail real trust in YHWH Almighty, especially as more and more thoughts and energies are plowed into worldly concerns and trust in man. Instead of trusting in YHWH, people turn to institutions of men and ideas that lead away from YHWH, even while professing that they love Him. (“What Lifestyle Are You Pursuing?“; “Do You Live a Lifestyle of Greed?“; “Consenting to Fables of Men“)
“Then put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil lust, and covetousness, for these are idolatry; on account of which things the wrath of YAHWEH is coming on the deeds of disobedience…” – Colossians 3:5-6, HRB
The apostle Paul provides disciples with a modern application of idolatry in the middle of his letter to the Colossians. Fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and covetousness, which is envy and jealousy, are all idolatry, in essence, putting yourself ahead of YHWH’s Will. Fact: you can easily put yourself ahead of your Heavenly Father by ignoring Him or by putting your will first. (“God First: Your Life Is Your Testimony“; “Are You a Christian First or Last?“; “Christian: Your Basis of Trust“)
In review, we’ve discovered that idolatry is not just venerating a statue, carving or painting. Idolatry occurs when you or anyone else begins to value anything more than YHWH. If you spend more time thinking about your hero than YHWH, that’s idolatry. If your overarching concern is about the latest gadget or your personal appearance, that’s idolatry. If the first priority in your life is your family, that’s idolatry.
When YHWH said, “You have no other mighty ones [gods] against My face” (Exodus 20:3), He wasn’t just talking about the imaginary deities of the past. YHWH meant anything that usurps His place as number one in your heart. The solution to this problem is to the point in Messiah”s admonition in Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of YAHWEH and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Everything else must come after.