[Calvary Chapel] 1998-11-05 - That's an Idol?

1 King 11:7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable idol of Moab, on the mountain which is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestable idol of the sons of Ammon. (NAS)

GODS, PAGAN - Molech was the national deity of the Ammonites <Lev. 18:21; Jer. 32:35>, whose worship was accompanied by the burning of children offered as a sacrifice by their own parents. The god Molech also appears in the Old Testament as Milcom <2 Kin. 23:13; Zeph. 1:5>; (Malcham, KJV) and in the New Testament as Moloch <Acts 7:43>.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary - Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers

Molech and Chemosh were the work of man's hands. Stone and metal disfigured images to which the parents of that day would offer their children. Metal hands were heated to scalding red hot. Then the child was dropped on to them. The terrible pain would lead to shock and death. To most of our society it is a horrible, unthinkable act. The worship of this idol involved the worship of pleasure, not unlike the virgin goddess Athena in Paul's day.

There is little argument that these, and many other stone figures are idols. One reason the Lord issued the command not to worship any graven images was to avoid this kind of grotesque worship. Even the alters that were made for the worship of God were to be made of uncarved stones.

Exod 20:25 And if you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it. (NAS)

There is nothing we can do externally to improve our worship to the Lord. The simple stones were not to be 'improved' upon with carvings. The focus was not on the stones, but on God. It is our hearts that need carving and cleaning out. God promises to replace our hearts that He calls stony, with a heart of flesh. This heart will be receptive to His commands and His will.

So, are these the only idols we can find? What made the statues idols?

People gave their time and devotion to them. In many cases, there was a philosophy of sensuality/experientality, stoicism, or educational/wisdom. They were ideals that moved the focus to physical, mental or emotional control, satisfaction or fulfillment. The 1960's motto, "If it feels good, do it.", elevated physical and emotional experience above all else. Free love and marriage smack of the temple worship of the Parthenon and the worship of Athena.

Matt 6:24-25 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. 25 "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? (NAS)

Jesus warned that the pursuit of money, for the sake of money, would be an all consuming passion. Once again, moving the focus of the person involved away from God on to the physical and self.

So, can money and pleasure become idols? Yes, but what is it about money and pleasure that can make them idols?

Heb 13:5-6 Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," 6 so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What shall man do to me?" (NAS)

There is nothing wrong with money or pleasure for that matter. We must eat and have shelter for our families. There is nothing wrong with taking a day off and relaxing alone or with others. Sensuality within marriage is a special relationship and blessing reserved for marriage. Pursuit of an education is required by our society and is actually required to communicate and operate within that society. Emotions are given by God to us. It is the misuse, or abuse of any of these things that makes them idols. When anything comes between us and God, it becomes and idol.

Exod 20:3 You shall have no other gods before Me. (NAS)

An idol is a false god. Whether this god is a carved statue, your credit cards, your home, your kids or spouse, your education - if it becomes more important to you than God, you have an idol in your life. I'm not saying that you don't take care of things or love your family. Love your family! Be responsible with the things God has blessed you with, be they many or few. But love God first. When God is first, everything else comes into a proper perspective.

When God is first, your love for your family will be balanced and strong. Let something else move into that top slot and everything begins to slide and shuffle in order and importance.

Matt 6:31-34 Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' 32 "For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. 34 "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NAS)

Lord Jesus - we thank You for the many blessings and the provision You have given us. The more we place You first and depend on You, the more we can share Your perspective and focus. Help us to use wisely the things in our lives all the time keeping our focus on You and Your love, mercy and grace. Amen.

Grace & Peace,