Today’s Reading: Isa 2:6–4:6, Luke 1:39–66, Job 1:13–22
Today’s Theme: The Traps of Idolatry or 10 idols to avoid
Today’s theme looks at the traps of idolatry. When we walk in pride, exalt man, our own desire, ideas or work we form idols and bow to them, and then are bound by them.
Don’t fall for the alluring trap of idolatry, worship and trust in God only.
To help us all apply this to our lives the Lord has shown me 10 idols that we need to look out for from today’s reading, they are listed below.
Idol 1: Your works
Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. Isaiah 2:8 (ESV)
The land was filled with idols, idols the people had formed with their own hands.
What things have you made and now idolise? Is it your education, career, sports achievements, your house, your car, your religious works or your family?
God is the creator and expects us to use our hands to work and make things but He does not expect us to substitute Him for the things He gave us the wisdom to make.
We thank God for the gifts He has given us, we must not forget the creator and worship the creation or anything man made. Romans 1:25.
The works of our hands cannot save us. Idols always hold out a false promise albeit in our own minds as an idol is nothing. It has no mind or will or power only God can help us, only God should be trusted and only God deserves our worship and allegiance.
You cannot make God, God alone is God, cast down the idol of your own works today.
Idol 2: Pride
For the LORD of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low; Isaiah 2:12 (ESV)
Pride both creates idols and is an idol itself. God declares that He will cast down all pride, God will judge pride and bring it down.
The Hebrew root word for proud in this verse is “arrogance”.
To help us identify and avoid the trap of pride here are some working definitions (taken from the bible sense lexicon):
- Unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem.
- A person characterised by arrogance.
- Undue feelings of self-respect or pleasure in something by which self-worth is measured.
Pride can be a tricky idol, this is why we need to ask the Holy Spirit to watch over our hearts and why we need each other. It is possible to walk in pride without realising, this is why we need God’s help and need to live with a humble attitude.
Pride is such a large area of sin that it is one of sin’s three major type groupings which affect all in the world mentioned in 1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”
Don’t make pride your god, God alone is God, cast down the idol of pride and arrogance today.
Idol 3: Men
And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. Isaiah 2:17 (ESV)
It is possible to lift a mere person up to the status of a false god or idol in our lives.
The obvious “idols of men” will be famous people like movie stars, musicians, authors, speakers, preachers and leaders. We need to watch our hearts with those we are fans of or look up to that they do not become idols.
There is nothing wrong with looking up to, respecting or holding someone in honour. In fact we should do this with our parents, elders and pastors for example but must stop short of idolatry, looking up to God above them all.
The less obvious “idols of men” can be our children, spouses or some other positive person in our lives who we look up to or worship in place of and above God.
Jesus dealt with this in Matthew 10:37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Don’t make people your god, God alone is God, cast down the idol of men and family today.
Idol 4: Arrogance
For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. Isaiah 3:9 (ESV)
There was arrogance in Israel, they boldly and happily proclaimed their sin like Sodom.
We live in a world where sin is paraded and championed. We have seen this most recently in the cultural upheaval and sexual revolution happening on both sides of the Atlantic where gay marriage, transgender and abortion advocates have made pride in sin their mantra i.e. Gay Pride.
Arrogance in sin must not be an idol in our lives. We must not burn our conscience. Arrogant and open sin makes the sin and apparent right to commit the sin the idol.
This 4th of our 10 idols is one of the worst. If you are in the grip of the evil one, taking pride in your sin you desperately need God to save you through His son Jesus Christ.
Remember the warning of 1 Timothy 4:1–2 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared”.
Don’t make sin your god, God alone is God, cast down the idol of arrogance and rebellion today.
Idol 5: Injustice
As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths.” Isaiah 3:12 (ESV)
God calls his people to be champions of justice. God desires that men, women and children flourish in the world that he has made.
The idol we observe here is injustice, this is an idol we erect and worship through a sin of omission (not doing something we should do) rather than a sin of commission.
Our western culture teaches us to look out for number 1 and to pursue a comfortable life. It also pushes aggressive egalitarianism which would see inexperienced children ruling over us and women usurping authority over men.
This is a picture of a broken and cursed society. Our society is like this in ways today, we have been called to be lights in this world. Matthew 5:14.
Do not erect an idol of injustice through not pursuing justice. Speak up for the speechless, the oppressed, the poor and forgotten in Jesus name.
Don’t make injustice your idol, God alone is God, cast down the idol of injustice and indifference today.
Idol 6: Lust
therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will lay bare their secret parts. Isaiah 3:17 (ESV)
Our world is becoming more and more sexualised.
Sex is the biggest idol in today’s world.
We must not make sexual pleasure our god. We should not cherish sexual lust or hold it close, if we do we will be burned.
Concerning lust the proverbs warn us in Proverbs 6:27–28 “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?”.
Sexual lust wars against the soul. God has created sex to be enjoyed in the honour and security of marriage between one man and one woman only.
Beware if sex is your god, God will judge the idol and the judgement will bring you shame, for example; a child out of marriage, a sexual disease, being found out etc.
Parents protect and educate your children so they avoid the aggressive sexualisation of the culture around them.
Don’t make sexual lust your idol, God alone is God, cast down the idol of sex and lust today.
Idol 7: Self
And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.” Isaiah 4:1 (ESV)
The exhalation of self is the idol that strikes us closest.
Our world has pushed many women into a very difficult position through women’s liberation, extreme egalitarianism and libertarianism. Our world teaches women to pursue careers and self above the God given desire to be married and rear children.
A woman can be so desperate to pursue her career that she will stretch herself to provide for herself as long as she can have a child and a partner like the women in this verse.
This toxic mixture has fostered many unhealthy relationships where partnerships are entirely practical while each member pursues their own self centred agenda. This eventually destroys the individuals and hurts the children.
This is an example of the idol of self. The effect of self exaltation is a confrontation with the Self Sufficient One, God… you know who will win.
Don’t make self your god, God alone is God, cast down the idol of self and self exaltation today.
Idol 8: Mary
And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45 (ESV)
Now we look at a specific idol that has oppressed generations of faithful Roman Catholics, Mary.
This is so sad because Mary is a hero of the word. She exhibited great faith and trust in God and she was called blessed in scripture because God chose her and she responded in submission and obedience.
She is called blessed because of her faith in the word of God.
In her song of praise Mary magnifies the Lord, she did not see herself as an idol or god.
Let’s appeal to Catholics everywhere to follow Mary’s example from scripture, which was to worship God alone, to put faith in His word and submit to Him.
Pray today that the idol worship of Mary in the Roman Catholic church would be cast down and Catholics would worship God alone.
Idol 9: Tradition
but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” Luke 1:60 (ESV)
Elizabeth boldly stood against the traditions of her people which we will see throughout the New Testament has become an idol.
We must not allow traditions of man to become idols that we worship especially in our families and in the church.
We must not put our trust in traditions but God alone.
The truth of God’s word trumps every tradition.
Don’t make tradition your god, God alone is God, cast down the idol of tradition and religion today.
Idol 10: Things
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:20–21 (ESV)
Every physical thing that Job had was wiped out in one day, but these things were not idols to Job so he worships the Lord in response to losing them.
Materialism is everywhere in our world. Materialism teaches us to make idols of things.
We should not make the things we possess idols, we should not let them possess us.
Let’s join Job in his worshipful perspective. His heart was consumed by God and not his riches, that is the only way he could respond like this. His very response is the opposite of materialism. What would our response be?
Don’t make things your idol, God alone is God, cast down the idol of things and materialism today.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
Desiring God on Luke 1