Idols are those things that separate us from the mission of Jesus Christ. Things such as exalting oneself through the acquisition of assets for the purpose of self-elevation and power and control.
As I sat in the deer stand (tree stands or deer stands are open or enclosed platforms used by hunters), I read what God led me to read: which was; Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah. God spoke to these men about how the people of God strayed from His will, even to the extent of worshipping idols and doing evil deeds. This grieved and angered God. God revealed to these men of the wrath that would come to them because of their sin (the sin of God’s people). As I read and listened to God, I was given to contemplate the meaning of idols. At the time of the Old Covenant (before the time of grace), everything was driven by works and deeds. God’s laws governed men’s actions through work, deeds, disciplines and gestures of obedience. In my words, His relationship to man was exercised from a not-so-personal relationship from the outside. God related to man from the physical, rather than from the interpersonal. Because of this, man’s identity was also in the realm of the physical. Idols, therefore, were made of a physical nature, such as golden images like the golden calf.
Man related to God in the tangible and physical. Since that did not work, God incarnated Himself through His Son Jesus and a new dispensation was born – the dispensation of grace. Under this new dispensation, what is an idol? Idols are the same as in the Old Covenant, but a new and additional form of idol worship was born. Because of Jesus, and then the Holy Spirit, God entered into men and dwelt within man. Now, even our thoughts, intentions and motives can come under the control of God if we are willing.
Now we must consider the mission of Jesus. The mission of Jesus (among other things) was to provide salvation to mankind. He came to show us how to give and forgive. His ideal was to form a brotherhood of believers who would know and desire His heart and have a passion for His mission. He wanted a brotherhood that would deny self for the sake of His name, giving freely for the joy of seeing others benefit – forgiving for the sake of His name.
With that said, what are our idols now? Idols are those things that separate us from the mission of Jesus Christ. Things such as exalting oneself through acquisition of assets for the purpose of self elevation and power and control. A prideful attitude that seeks the envy of others is an idol. This pride can be driven by power through knowledge in general, or even Scriptural knowledge, or even self elevation through acquisition of assets. Check out God’s attitudes and feelings about these things – Amos 5:21-27 I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god—which you made for yourselves. Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus, says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty’. Also read Amos 6, in its entirety.
If we have surrendered to these idols, then Hosea 14 tells us what to do.
Author: David Leatherman
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