Understanding Idolatry

During a recent Bible study Pastor Chambers gave an overview of idolatry as defined by the Bible. The following is a brief outline followed during that study with some additional information about how to combat idolatry.

The Bible says idolatry is:
▸ Having any God before Him (Exodus 20:2-3)
▸ Creating an image of God (Exodus 20:4; Isaiah 40:5-10)
▸ Exchanging the glory of God for a created thing (Romans 1:23)
▸ Exchanging the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25; Jeremiah 10:14)
▸ Changing the glory of God for shame (Psalm 106:20)
▸ Giving credit for God’s works to the creature (Ezekiel 28:4-5; Exodus 32:8)
▸ Making something other than God the final authority (Zephaniah 1:6)
▸ Serving, worshiping, fearing or bowing before something other than God (2 Kings 17:35)

“Idolatry is honoring or worship a created thing at the expense of God the Creator.”
– Erik Raymond

“To have a god is to have something in which the heart entirely trusts. If it cleaves to anything of which it expects more good and help than of God, then you have an idol.”
– Martin Luther

“A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. An idol is whatever you look at and say, ‘If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning.’ If anything in life becomes more fundamental than to God to your happiness, your meaning in life and identity, then it is an idol.”
– Tim Keller

Idolatry makes one other than God the ultimate source for the satisfaction of the individual’s deepest desires:
▸ Exalts the satisfaction of personal desires (Philippians 3:19; Romans 16:18)
▸ Hopes in something other than God (Job 31:24, 28)
▸ Relies on a created good for satisfaction instead of God (Ezekiel 23:5-21)
▸ Trusts for counsel and direction (Hose 4:12)
▸ Covetousness is idolatry because it desires a possession more than God (Colossians 3:5; Ephesians 5:5; Hebrews 13:5)
▸ Stubborness is idolatry that elevates the person’s will over God’s will (1 Samuel 15:23)

Idolatry is internal:
▸ Idolatry starts in the heart (Ezekiel 14:1-4)
▸ Idolatry is a longing for something other than God (Ezekiel 6:9)
▸ Idolatry occurs in the mind by denying God’s character and goodness (Ezekiel 8:12)

There is hope!
★ God delivers from idolatry (Ezekiel 36:29)
★ God cleanses the idolatrous heart (Ezekiel 37:23)
★ God opens the blinded eyes (Ezekiel 4:4-6)

Combating idolatry:
✓ Pray for illumination of God’s Word (Romans 1:19; 2 Corinthians 2:11-14)
✓ Repent of known sin (Hosea 14:2-3)
✓ Practice thankfulness to God (Romans 1:21)
✓ Give God the glory for the good He has done for you (Romans 1:21)
✓ Confess sin and foolishness (Romans 1:22; Hosea 14:2; 1 John 1:9)
✓ Exchange lies for the truth (Romans 1:25)