When you think of idol worship, more often than not, you probably picture an image of a golden calf like the one Aaron made for the Israelites while Moses was talking to God. If you’ve had the opportunity to travel outside the United States, you may have seen some that looked like these:
in places of worship like this:
You may have even been saddened at the thought of people worshipping inanimate objects, judging such worshippers to be deceived. According to the Bible, I believe they are. However, I believe we, as Americans (regardless of religious affiliation), also have idols of worship. They just look different. Many times our “problems” in America indicate our objects of worship. Listen to how ridiculous we sound when people from other countries quote us:
I submit to you that the following are a sampling of idols in our lives.
As a symbol of our country, the flag often becomes an object of worship in and of itself. If you disagree, consider our reaction when we see somebody burn or otherwise desecrate this piece of fabric. (Note: I am thankful to live in the United States, and I am thankful to those who have defended our country from the tyrannies of other leaders. At the same time, I know that my hope is not dependent on my nationality, our military or our government.)
Don’t think Americans worship their smart phones? Ask somebody (yourself included) to go a week without it. These devices have quickly become a “necessary” accessory.
The American Dream of having a spouse, 2.5 kids, a dog and a home with a white picket fence, preferably in a neighborhood with good schools and an HOA. That is a pursuit of things moth and rust will destroy, as anyone who has lived through a natural disaster could tell you.
Americans tend to place their future hope in the success of the stock market, forgetting that it is just as risky as any casino in Vegas. Like all other false gods, it is bound to fail.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are mere documents, drafted by men.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
At no point did God (here referenced as our Creator) tell us we had the Right to live. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (I find it ironic that Paul uses this very phrase when he explains the emptiness of idol worship to the scholars of the Areopagus.) When He is ready for us to stop living, we will.
We have no right to experience Liberty. He alone can set us free. The Truth sets us free, not our demands. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon made it very clear that the pursuit of happiness is futile.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights are not, nor will they ever be Scripture. In fact, according to the Bible, the only “rights” we have on this earth are the consequences of our sin: death. To expect anything more is entitlement. That is why the gospel is Good News. Where we lack rights, God offers grace.
When we acknowledge that the idols in our lives are manmade, faulty and temporary and repent, placing our hope in the eternal, Living God, He welcomes us home. Make no mistake, God is very clear that He will not share His glory with another. It doesn’t matter if that “other” is a person, a statue, a document, a nation or a gadget; there is only One God, and He spends much of human history trying to help His creation understand that Truth. We still haven’t quite grasped it.
Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. Jonah 2:8