First, let’s read Psalm 115:4-8, “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” Notice that these idols were built by men in the fashion of men. They had mouths, eyes, ears, noses, hands, feet, and throats. However, all these were lifeless. Although they were fashioned after men, they could not do anything. Then we are warned of the harm found in idol worship: “They that make them are like unto them.” Those who worship idols have no spiritual lives within them. They are just as dead as the idols they worship.

Why would someone worship an idol instead of the one true God? The Apostle Paul tells us of the original reason for idol worship. Romans 1:21-23 says, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into AN IMAGE MADE LIKE TO CORRUPTIBLE MAN, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Man, having rejected the truth of the one true God, began to create God in their own image. They manufactured gods that approved of what they approved of and condemned whatever they condemned. In reality, they became their own gods.

The first commandment the Lord gave to His people, the Israelites, was a prohibition of idol worship. Exodus 20:3-5 says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God…” Ironically, even as Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments from the Lord, the Israelites were involved in idol worship. Exodus 32:1 and 5 says, “And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him…And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.” How quickly the people forgot the benefits of the Lord and sought another god to worship and serve. This is the very same thing the Lord was warning them of.

Idol worship was not confined to the Old Testament. We read in Acts 17:16, “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city WHOLLY GIVEN TO IDOLATRY.” We are warned in 1 Corinthians 10:14, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, FLEE FROM IDOLATRY.”

An idol does not have to be something that is made from our hands. Admittedly, there are very few of us that would actually build an idol and then worship it. An idol is anything that comes between you and the Lord; anything that we place above the Lord. Whenever we value something or someone more than we value the Lord, that becomes our idol. You might think that you would never value anything above the Lord. Consider your hobbies and your passions. Do you spend more time on them than you spend time concerned about the Lord? Do you spend more time talking about your hobbies more than you talk about the Lord? Do you spend more time learning about a particular interest more than you spend time learning about the Lord in His Word? Idolatry can be subtle. Colossians 3:5 tells us that covetousness is idolatry. We can become so consumed with making ourselves happy, that we become our own idol. The Apostle John warns us in 1 John 5:21, “Little children, KEEP YOURSELVES FROM IDOLS. Amen.” (227.4)