Have you ever idolised something, only to find it disappointing in the end?
In the Bible the prophet Isaiah had something to say to the idol-worshipping people of Israel, who’d lost faith in God and been captivated instead by the things they believed could guide them or save them.
He addresses them in chapter 40:25,26 with these words from God:
“To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power.”
God is reminding his people that the objects they ascribe such honour to are simply the things he created. They can’t be compared to him.
Sometimes we become so distracted by the created things that we forget to look up to their Creator.
Matthew Henry described an idol as something we esteem or love, fear or hope in more than God. We might not ‘worship’ it as such – but we allow it a place in our life that is above God. We allow that thing – whether it’s a relationship, career, money, others’ approval, family, power/control, or popularity – more sway over our decision-making than God. Our fear of losing it trumps our fear of losing our relationship with God. That’s what makes it an idol, even though the thing in itself isn’t necessarily bad.
May we bow our knees only to the one who made us, who named us, who calls us his. And turn from worshipping the things which so easily distract us from his incomparable greatness, goodness, and love.