7 “You shall have no other gods before me.” Deut 5:7. NIV When we read through the Old Testament, a disturbing pattern quickly emerges. God blesses and delivers the children of Israel, they worship and obey Him for a time and then quickly turn to idols and false gods. God then brings judgment upon them, they return to worshipping Him only for a time, and then the cycle of idolatry/ judgment/repentance/deliverance continues.
I used to think of idolatry as a strange and alien concept, something that belonged in ancient history, but not something that people really have to deal with today. It always seemed so strange to me that anyone would want to worship an icon man had made from brick or stone. That was before I travelled to Asia and witnessed the darkness and power of idol worship first hand. That was before I really let the Holy Spirit illuminate and shine into my own idolatrous heart.
You see idolatry is simply this: “Anything or anyone we put in the place of God in our lives. An idol is anything or anyone we consider so central, so fundamental, so essential to our life that we couldn’t imagine life with it, him, or her. An idol is anything or anyone we love more than God, trust more than God, or obey more than God.“- The Gospel Project. An idol can be anything— a career, hobbies, a spouse, one’s family. I’m now convinced that modern day churchianity is filled with idol worshippers. When I’m honest with the Lord, I realize how prone my heart is to stray to worthless idols and worship anything but my Creator.
The cure for idolatry is not that we will ourselves to do good and simply stop putting other things before God. What we need is a true vision of who God really is. When we understand how beautiful, glorious, awesome, and terrifying the Creator of the universe is, we can’t help but worship Him and our lives will reflect His holiness and majesty.
One of the things I love about the wilderness experience is its ability to help us begin to understand the greatness of God. I can’t stand on the shores of a vast ocean and not see myself as finite and God as limitless. I can’t climb a majestic peak and not be awed at the majesty and splendor of the one who made that mountain. We need the solitude and grandeur of wild places to draw our hearts back to the One who fashioned us from the clay and made us in His image. May you get a glimpse of just how big God is and may this realization drive you to your knees in worship of the only One who can really satisfy the longings of your heart.
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